This facebook memory makes me laugh. And then it makes me sob. I had to say goodbye to my beloved boy a month ago today.
Along with losing Henry, it’s also the seventh month my mom has been in a physical rehab facility after breaking one leg and severing a kneecap tendon in the other. Spring, summer, fall, and now winter, it’s been a blur of almost daily trips to see her, along with navigating insurance and medical teams, and the everyday stuff like work and home and life. I may or may not have begun mumbling medicare as a curse word.
So yeah, I’m glad to see 2019 behind me and I step into 2020 weary. Turning the calendar to a new year doesn’t change anything but it hints of hope and better days to come. A fresh start.
But first, it’s the meantime. The Now. Holding both the hope and the grief in the same moment is not easy but we all do it to some degree. One of my friends navigated his first Christmas without his beloved wife last month. Another steered her family through the holiday without her Mom for the first time.
I don’t pretend to compare the anguish of losing a spouse or a parent with that of losing a dog.
But here’s the thing about grief and suffering: I don’t think God does, either.
God doesn’t ask us to justify our grief or measure the worthiness of our tears. He doesn’t ask us to defend why we’re still mourning, He calls us to be still and know that He is God. To know that He collects all our tears in His bottle.
Not to shame us for feeling sad, or question us for not getting over it quickly enough. But as a measure of how much He loves us. As a promise that He will always be there with us in the darkness to guard those tender places in our heart that still bruise so easily.
And in the depths of feeling broken and alone, when I feel the need to minimize my grief because I’m tired of seeing the look of surprise in a person’s eyes when I speak the truth of my heart, God will collect my tears and record my sorrows. Not as a measure of my weakness but as a promise of His strength.
So yeah I’m walking into 2020 exhausted, with a heavy heart, but my weakness will not be held against me. It’ll be fortified by a God who loves me enough to walk alongside me.