Saturday, March 28, 2009

Facing Your Sorrow

I love this photo of Bailey taken during their Ho'olaulea at Kamalii. But for the longest time I avoided looking a the Ho'olaulea photos we had taken....

Avoidance. That's is the defense mechanism I use the most. I do not "deny" painful things and situations, but I do tend to go around it when I know it will inflict pain. Same with conflicts. I do not "project" nor "blame" others, but I avoid it at all costs.

So why was I avoiding this photo? Because on the day we were celebrating the Ho'olaulea, Joey passed away. We didn't know he was gone at the time we are watching this beautiful event (us and the Johnsons, Borlands, Englerts, Knowles, etc.).  But he was.

See what I mean? This photo is special but I was afraid to show it to Karen and Joe because I was afraid it will bring them sorrow. I was afraid it will be a sad reminder.

And yet this past weekend (on Joey's 10th month anniversary of going to heaven) I was reminded by the Holy Spirit that there's nothing to be sad about this photo. At the time the kids were celebrating Ho'olaulea, Joey is already is heaven, and probably was watching it with us. He was not alone in his room waiting to be found. His old body was there but his spirit is in heaven, the moment he was "called" home.

And so I decided to post this photo here today. To actually face the sorrow, not go around it. For in facing the sorrow comes healing.

Joe & Karen, JoAnne and Jaime, Rachel, and many others are still grieving. Who knows how long that will last. I bet until they meet Joey again in heaven. Oh they are probably not crying everyday anymore (maybe they are); and yes they are now smiling often and even laughing out loud. But deep inside, there still is sorrow. I am just thankful they are not running away from it, but facing it ... facing it with the help of God, drawing strength from Him each and every moment.

I am thankful that the Johnsons have openly shared some of their deepest sorrows with us. The least we can do (but is very important) is to continue to lift them up in prayers.

Today,  (Saturday, 12noon until 3+PM), we are going to gather at Hope Chapel and say our "goodbyes - till we meet again" to Joe and Karen. They are moving to Virginia on the first week of April to be with their families there. The "avoidant me" had avoided getting involved with the preparation of this gathering because I wasn't ready to say goodbye. But today, I guess I am "facing my sadness" knowing that God has a purpose and a plan.

When you pass through the water, I will be with you; in the rivers you shall not drown. When you walk through fire, you shall not be burned; the flames shall not consume you. Isaiah 43:2


Joe and Karen said...

I've done plenty of avoiding too. But eventually it catches me and I am in the throes of grief again. I am learning by Kit's example to trust God in it all. I know I could not do it without the prayers that have been prayed for us. I would never choose any of what has happened in the last 10 months, but when I stand before Jesus I want to hear "well done", so we press on. Liza's blog and people's comments have been a place of healing for us, so thank you so much. We love you.

Mackenzie said...

this is a beautiful, honoring, honest, and healing post. thank you, Liza. i'm sending a big cyber hug to you, Papa Joe & Karen. blessings on your move to VA (are you passing through LA? if you are, come visit! :) and for continued peace and healing as you daily, continually face the loss of our dear Joey. we love you.

kenz & jim

Doug Spencer said...

What a wonderful post Liza. It got me thinking that all emotions are God given and God created. This includes the ones we struggle with (anger, jealousy, sorrow, etc.) Even God Himself has displayed each of these emotions. As Christians, we are the only creatures on earth that can truly experience joy and sorrow at the same time. Normally, those two emotions would be at opposite ends of the spectrum. I am learning that when I feel a certain emotion inside of me, I ask myself why am I feeling that? What is it that God is working through me with that emotion?

This post has given me pause to ponder that further. Let us not be afraid of our emotions but recognize them as demonstrating the beauty of our Lord's creation within us.

Joe and Karen, there is no way I can understand the grief you are going through. I do know that the times when I have had a heavy heart of grief for my children, it allows me for a moment to understand how much more our Lord must grieve for us. Our emotions can allow us to see yet another dimension to God and I trust that going through this process will allow you to do that as well.

God bless you guys for all you've done and for being faithful bondservants to our Lord.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Liza.
Aloha, Lynne

Anonymous said...

Liza, You have done such an incredible thing...doing this Blog the way you have since JJ moved on. Thankyou...From the Evangelistas. Every time I get on this site there is something new to see and think about. Well done. Thanks for doing this! It means a lot to everyone who comes here to think about Joey.
Sean Evangelista