This morning I’m thinking about love and loss and how neither one ever really go away.
Grief is funny like that.
It doesn’t matter how many years go by or how many tears are shed, love and loss are an endless ocean.
This morning, I’m thinking about a little boy who went to heaven eleven years ago. I’m thinking about three friends lost in the past year. I’m thinking about Nora’s twin Asher. I’m thinking about the ones who are still here, whose hearts are full of love and grief and beauty and ashes.
I close my eyes and I see the ones I love, the ones that have gone on before us, the ones that have left behind holes and empty spaces. I see them in heaven. They are together. They are not gone. They are not even waiting. They are in a perfect place, safe and loved and whole and perfect. They rejoice. They sing. They dance.
We wait. We grieve. But we also rejoice because this world is not our home and there is more after this.
And that love is still there. Love is real thing that is living and full and that grows and evolves. Love is something that can’t be erased or stamped out. It can change shape but it remains. It abides. It is sometimes still. It sometimes rages. It sometimes grows. It sometimes shrinks back but it never goes away.
And loss is that way. Grief is that way. Sometimes grief quiets down and hides. Sometimes it pops out and surprises us. Sometimes it drops by for a quick visit. Sometimes it shows up with suitcases and a list of things to discuss.
Here is what I know, and I do not know much. God is in the midst of these things. God is Love, not the love that we know here on earth but Love. Real love. Our dear ones that have left us and that live in heaven, they know Love and one day we will too. His love is different. More different than we know. But it is whole and complete and not scary and this real Love, it does not change. It does not ebb and flow. It’s the same. Yesterday, today and forever.
And this is the other thing. Grief is a place where he meets us. He is present, right in the midst of the ugly cry, snot and tears pouring, sides aching from sobs. He gets right in it with us. He is there in a solitary tear. He captures it and saves it, because our grief moves his heart. He molds our hearts when we are grieving, if we let him. He takes our hearts in his hands and he ministers to them. He stands with us in our grief. He sits with us, if that’s what it takes. His perfect Love wraps us up, even when we don’t feel it.
And he does not forget our grief or say that it’s time has passed. He does not rush us through it. He knows that our love is real and that it never goes away and that our grief is real and it never goes away. But he takes us through it to a place where we can live with it. Not forgetting, not brushing it aside, but allowing it our love and grief to shape our hearts into something more like his.
There is not a time stamp on grief. It does not expire or spend itself out. It’s like love that way. And sometimes I think the world wants to hustle it through, rush it past. But it’s always there. A piece of us. And while it hurts, it is still precious.
Because grief says this, I loved. I was loved. God gave me a beautiful gift for a time.
Really, it’s beautiful. When you think about it.
That’s how God is. Making painful things precious. Making broken things whole. Making ashes beautiful. Taking broken hearts and changing them, molding them into something new.