Thursday, December 20, 2012

How the soul grows.

My 9th anniversary has come and gone, except Lynn was not here to share it with me.  Instead, it was a day of memories, reflection, and quiet celebration...

It would be easy to romanticize my love with Lynn, to look at beautiful pictures taken by Daniel St. Louis (whose career makes ordinary people look more beautiful than they are...!), and to think that we are somehow special...  It would also be easy to say Why me!?  Why Lynn!? and dwell on the injustice of his life ending so suddenly.

After death, it is easy to change a person or marriage into something ethereal, otherworldly, almost creating a new persona... But grief must be done in honesty, just as worship must be done in truth.

I think sudden loss (brace yourself...) is like someone violently gouging out your eyes, the world as you knew it has gone black.  Some people continue in this state of blackness for a long time, maybe forever.  They never learn to see again.  But I think others learn a whole new way of seeing.  God gives us new eyes where we can see and appreciate the sorrows of this world, identify more closely with the whole of humanity, stare boldly into the face of evil and wickedness and pain... And in that place we see the value of life, the treasure of each moment, the meaning in every breath.  The soul grows in grief so that we can see the world with a whole new perspective, with new eyes, and be held captive by the grace so evident in our lives*.

Yesterday was filled with both grace and sorrow.  I went to lunch by myself and it was mysteriously paid for by a friend who was leaving as I arrived.  It snowed :).  I napped.  My supper came from food prepared and dropped off by others. Two friends came over in the evening and we watched one of my favourite movies, a Christmas tradition, Little Women.  My Mom is a never ending blessing and took on the work load of the day... But I also felt weakened physically, to the point of collapsing, by the intense emotions of the day.  I napped fitfully, with haunting thoughts and images swirling around in my mind, I sat with no energy or motivation or strength to engage with my daughters and love on them throughout the day...

Yesterday was the first day I experienced the tangible pains of sorrowful loss with an unspeakable sensation of joy and thanksgiving at the same time.  And I thought... this is how the soul grows...

It reminds me of something God continues to resonate in my spirit from Isaiah 54:2, Enlarge your tents... (I blogged about it Aug 16th, ~2 weeks before Lynn's death - Enlarge your tents.)

God wants to fill our tents with blessings because we are blessed to be a blessing... The world is suffering and in need of God's grace, but North Americans can trick ourselves into a sense of control...  We want to control our losses and keep out the pain of suffering, seeing with old eyes that miss the glittering grace of God in every situation... Enlarge your tents!!  Grow your soul by embracing the pain, sorrow, and losses of this world! So that we see with new eyes and have room for a greater light that reaches further into the darkness than we would otherwise never dare to go...

Can I survive the sharp pains of loss and allow my soul to stretch to the point of embracing both the sufferings of this world as well as the richness of God's grace???

*Jerry Sittser, A Grace Disguised: How the Soul Grows Through Loss  (Again!!!)

1 comment:

  1. You indeed are allowing God to enlarge your heart, with a capacity that is learning to envelope the pain that once seemed unbearable (thank God for denial- it cushions us for a period of time).

    But the capacity that is filled with pain, sorrow and grief will one day also include love, peace, joy, and hope. The pain will still be there. But so will the good things that God wants to bestow upon you for having weathered this tumultuous time while still holding onto His hand.

    You will one day use this to be able to help others who have had a "hard life". God will redeem this situation for His glory, and you will grow as your capacity for Christ has grown.

    Hang in there. The dawn is darkest before the light.