The other night I was at Jaime's house with a bunch of "girls" (ok, ladies) who were there to be with Jaime. It was a ladies night, a time of fun and laughter. It was formed to help ease the pain Jaime is experiencing in the loss of her brother who she's very closed with.
Then I thought of JoAnne and wondered how she's doing. The next morning, I got an e-mail from Karen. JoAnne forwarded to her and Jaime a post by Lysa Turkeust (from Proverbs 31 Woman ministry) sent to her by her caring friend Lyz. It was in incredible post. A moving post. It was written from the heart of someone who knows exactly what JoAnne and Jaime are going through. I thought isn't that wonderful. Just as the Maui ohana are ministering to the Johnsons here, JoAnne's Virginia friends are ministering to her as well. That was good to know.
And so I contacted Lysa (via her blog) to ask permission to re-post that scribbling here. And immediately I got a response back saying "yes, go ahead, you can re-post it". So so here it is:
by Lysa Terkeust
by Lysa Terkeust
Sometimes when we lose things it causes a temporary panic that rises and falls in a mini-tidal wave fashion. Like earlier this year when I lost my camera with all our ski pictures on it. The panic escalated, crested with some hand wringing and mind racing, and then slowly ebbed away.
But sometimes a loss cuts into your heart so viciously that it forever redefines who you are and how you think. It's what I call deep grief.
The kind that strains against everything you've ever believed. So much so you wonder how the promises that seemed so real on those thin Bible pages yesterday, could possibly ever stand up under the weight of this enormous sadness today.
I once stood at the side of a casket too small to accept. Pink roses draped everywhere. And I watched my mom as she laid across the casket refusing to let go. How could she let go? Part of her heart laid within, so quiet and so still.
I stood paralyzed and stunned. Just days ago we were laughing and doing everyday things and assuming that all of our lives stretched before us in spans of many, many years. And then suddenly it all stopped.
In the flurry of funeral plans and memorial services we all operated on automatic. People were everywhere. Soft chatter filled in the gaps that our stunned silence could not. And enough food was brought in to feed the whole neighborhood.
But eventually people went back to their own lives. The soft chatter dissipated. The food stopped coming. And we were forced to carry on. Only we had deep grief wrapped about us that made our throats feel strangled and our feet stuck in mud.
I remember I tried to go to McDonalds to order a happy meal. But I couldn't. I sat in the drive-thru with the speaker spouting words at me I couldn't process. She kept asking if she could take my order.
Yeah I had an order. Take away my bloodshot eyes. Take away my desire to hurt the doctors that couldn't save my sister. Take away my anger toward God. And then take away my guilt for being the one that lived. I'll take all that with no onions and extra ketchup please.
I drove away sobbing. How dare they offer happy meals. No one should be happy today. Or tomorrow. Or next year.
This is the reality of deep grief. Even when you love God and believe in His promises. Even when you know without a doubt that you will see your loved one again. Even when you know hope is still there.
It takes time.
It takes wading through an ocean of tears.
It takes finding a possession of your loved one that you thought was lost and realizing God did that just to comfort you. It takes discovering one day that the sun still shines. It takes being caught off guard when you catch yourself smiling only to realize it's okay.
It takes prayer. It takes making the decision to stop asking for answers and start asking for perspective. It takes telling people to please not avoid saying her name- you want to hear it, over and over and over again.
Then one day you take off the blanket of deep grief. You fold it neatly and tuck it away. You no longer hate it or resist it. For underneath it wondrous things have happened. Things that could have only come about when Divine hope intersect with a broken world.
And finally you can see years stretching before you once again. You look up, blow a kiss, wipe a tear and find it's still possible to dance.