Monday, March 14, 2011

Lessons learned...

Dear Sara,

The days continue to march by, some better than others, none as bad as the first. I continue to read about grief and the process of it. I find myself identifying with the various authors and the points they make. I often find new ideas and things to think about, too.

I want her back as an ingredient in the restoration of my past. Could I have wished for anything worse? Having got once through death, to come back and then, at some later date, have all her dying to do over again? They call Stephen the first martyr. Hadn’t Lazarus the rawer deal?” C.S. Lewis wrote these words as he considered his state of crying out for his beloved wife’s return. I’ve done the same, many times. While his was a situation of dealing with a long goodbye, from cancer, the raw sentiment of it rings true. Getting you back is so much more about me, and restoring what I feel is lost, and yet it would be a raw deal for you.

I finished his book last night. I’m not sure how long he wrote for, but I hope that I can get to where he was by the time he filled his 4th, and final, notepad with his thoughts on the process and experience he was going through. He wasn’t past the hurt, but he could look at it in the full light of God’s healing touch.

I’m still at a place where my happiness often makes me sad. Lewis experienced this, too, “Still, there’s no denying that in some sense, I ‘feel better,’ and with that comes at once a sort of shame, and a feeling that one is under a sort of obligation to cherish and foment and prolong one’s unhappiness.” I realize that you would probably want nothing more than for me to feel happy, but happy just doesn’t feel right (beyond the occasional short burst.)

I’ve also come to realize that things can’t just go back to “the way they were before Sara.” Not that I’ve tried to get there, but I can fully empathize with Lewis when he wrote, “Did you ever know, dear, how much you took away with you when you left? You have stripped me even of my past, even of the things we never shared.” This house has been stripped to its foundation. The process of rebuilding, one brick at a time, may take years, even past the point of happiness returning.

One of the things that's changed since you left is what I listen to when I'm driving in the car. My radio used to be locked on ESPN...none of that seems interesting or important these days. Now I listen mostly to or to playlists on my phone. Today I heard a classic by Petra from Not of This World. The lesson is that death will be swallowed by the victory of the cross and the resurrection. The hard part is waiting for that victory.

There's a step that we all take alone 
An appointment we have with the great unknown 
Like a vapor this life is just waiting to pass 
Like the flowers that fade, like the withering grass 
But life seems so long and death so complete 
And the grave an impossible portion to cheat 
But there's One who has been there and still lives to tell 
There is One who has been through both heaven and hell 
And the grave will come up empty-handed that day 
Jesus will come and steal us away 

Where is the sting, tell me where is the bite 
When the grave robber comes like a thief in the night 
Where is the victory, where is the prize 
When the grave robber comes 
And death finally dies 

Many still mourn and many still weep 
For those that the love who have fallen asleep 
But we have this hope though our hearts may still ache 
Just one shout from above and they all will awake 
And in the reunion of joy we will see 
Death will be swallowed in sweet victory 

When the last enemy is done from the dust will come a song 
Those asleep will be awakened, not a one will be forsakened 
He shall wipe away our tears, He will steal away our fears 
There will be no sad tomorrow, there will be no pain and sorrow

Grave Robber
Words and music by Bob Hartman 
Based on Hebrews 9:27, John 4:14, 1 Peter 1:24, Romans 8:11, 1 Corinthians 15:26, 51-55, Revelation 7:17

Sometimes my mind needs to be reminded of the things my heart already knows. Songs like this help to do that.

I looked through all the pictures of you on my iPad last night. I didn't cry...much.  I smiled more. I still want to touch your face, see your smile, kiss your lips, hold your hand, smell that scent which was unmistakably you, hear your laugh, and just hold you, hold you, hold you.

I love you. I miss you. Give Miranda a kiss from daddy.