I got to spend some one-on-one time with my hubby today. It doesn’t happen often enough because he works long hours and life is busy. We had an appointment to see our pastor around noon, and hubby decided to take a longer break from work afterwards so that we could go to the cemetary and out for lunch.
The visit with our pastor was good. It was just a touch base kind of appointment which my pastor likes to do from time to time to see how we are doing. He has lost children himself and understands the heartbreak. His own experience is that you never truly ‘get over it’, and that there will always be a chamber in your soul where that loss is acutely felt. Yet time, he says, forms a bit of a crust over it, and you eventually don’t feel the intense emotion all the time anymore.
I thought about grief and redemption a bit on the way home in my car. The only thing I can liken this to is that it is almost like losing a limb. Initially the most obvious stares you in the face: Your arm is gone. You can’t see it anymore. You will never grow another one again. A part of you is missing forever. Then, as you start facing life again and attempt to adjust to this new reality, every little thing you do reminds you of your loss. Your clothes fit differently. Nothing is the same anymore. Things that required no thought or effort to you before are suddenly a challenge. You may eventually, unexpectedly, to your amazement, get a new arm – a prosthetic one. God blesses you with the ability to enjoy things you thought were lost to you forever. He restores, bless his holy name! Yet…the prosthetic limb that you value and treasure because of the new things it has brought into your life will still state the obvious. It is not real. It is not the original, and the original will be missed forever.
Boothe’s blog entry gave me much food for thought regarding God’s redemption. When we have gone through something as horrid and bleak and life-shattering as this, we struggle to make sense of it. It is part of our make up to seek the reason, the bigger plan behind it, to look for the beauty to come out of the ashes. We may start to form our own little ideas of how God may possibly turn this thing around for our good and our benefit. In the end though, our ideas of what is ‘the perfect outcome’ may not co-incide with Jesus’ far greater knowledge of where we are headed and what it will take to get us there. There are no guarantees that things will work out the way we plan. We look for what seems a perfect beauty for our dismal ashes but sometimes fail to see that the ultimate beauty is God himself. Gaining Jesus, and a greater measure of his presence and character in our lives is the ultimate redemption.
Hubby and I went to see Jenna’s grave today. I got a bit upset when we arrived because the lawnmower dude had driven over a little ceramic angel that came in one of Jenna’s flower arrangements. I had placed it over her grave with a bunch of flowers on our last visit. Since there is no headstone yet, the guy drove right over the grave and the angel, shattering it in tiny pieces. I found pieces of it several yards away, and I quickly squelched some ugly thoughts about what I would have liked the flying shards of glass to do to lawnmower dude. 🙂
We sat down on the grass next the the grave for a few minutes. It is obvious to hubby and I both though – Jenna is not there, under the ground. We should not be looking down to find her, but up. Yet the grave is a touch point, something physical where we can leave a few flowers for Jenna and push a Strawberry Shortcake foil balloon into the ground for her. I am glad now that we did choose to bury Jenna after all. At first I couldn’t bear the thought of it, of putting my baby under the ground, and I wanted to scatter her ashes to the wind instead, preferably over a special flower garden. It was precisely because I wanted to look up and not down to find her. Now I realise I can do that, and still be blessed with a physical place that is Jenna’s alone.
When we left I shot up a little thought to Jenna: “Bye, my sweetie. I love you.” It may seem strange, but I almost felt her joy and happiness that we had been there to honor her memory. If she could have kissed my cheek, I think she would have, and I thought I heard her whisper: “I love you too.” I mentioned this to hubby afterwards and his face lit up. He had felt the same way. We didn’t imagine it. Who would have thought that I would feel so close to my little girl there, in the place of the dead? Of couse it just goes to show us what we already know – she is not dead, but alive with Jesus.
Hubby and I ended our time together with lunch. It was yummy and the company was good. Sadly, all good things come to an end and he is back at work now, and here I am, typing away when what I really need to do is tackle a grossly disorganised house and piles of unfolded laundry. Sigh.