Friends in the Boat

Recently,  I recalled a comment a friend said to me shortly after my dad dying. This friend and I are both in the “no more living parents” boat. I know there are a ton of folks in this boat with me. My friend shared with me how losing her parents made her feel a little bit like an orphan.  At the time, it didn’t feel that way to me personally. I lost my mom when I was 18 and my dad when I was 44.  Maybe I didn’t feel like an orphan because I was little further along in the adulthood journey when I entered into the realm of parentlessness.

Yet, I do feel something all the time: grief. It’s not the kind of grief that paralyzes you like when a pain and loss is fresh. It’s a different kind of grief. It’s that kind that resides, hidden, under the surface. It ebbs and flows, rises and falls, but never goes away completely.  Most days, I’m okay with this. Each chapter has helped to shape me into who I am today. Most days, the hope of glory and the joy that comes with knowing Jesus and being a part of His family far outweighs this chronic presence of grief.  I’m so grateful that the hope He offers us is infinitely bigger than the despair all around us and the sorrow that sometimes hits us personally.

Yet, there are still those days when the reality wave will hit me again and I’m deeply aware of a loved ones absence in my life.  As I was driving home from work yesterday,  I told the Lord exactly how I was currently feeling about all of it…death, grief, pain, sorrow, separation.   You know Lord, this sucks.  And you know what?  I felt like I heard Him respond to my statement.  I felt like I heard Him say.  You’re right… it does. 

And Jesus wept.  (John 11:35)

I like that I have a Savior in my life that can sympathize with me, that climbs in the boat with me for a bit and reaffirms the suck that I’m feeling.  It’s like having that wise spouse or good friend who doesn’t try to fix it all or explain it all away right then and there…but rather they just sit with us in the darkness and simply listen to our pains and allow us to throw some tired tantrum punches.

I can relate to the Psalmist’s words

When I became embittered
and my innermost being was wounded,
 I was stupid and didn’t understand;
I was an unthinking animal toward You.
 Yet I am always with You;
You hold my right hand.
 You guide me with Your counsel,
and afterward You will take me up in glory
Who do I have in heaven but You?
And I desire nothing on earth but You.
 My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart,
my portion forever. (Psalm 73: 21-26)

“Now that we know what we have—Jesus, this great High Priest with ready access to God—let’s not let it slip through our fingers. We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all—all but the sin. So let’s walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help.” Hebrews 4: 14-16


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