How do you do it? How do you say good-bye? I always cry, well nearly always cry, when our little families leave for home. I try not to cry, I even pray about it but I hate to think of not seeing them for a few weeks or months.
Today was a forever good-bye, you guessed it a funeral. Eunice and Duane have been married 30 years it wasn’t time to say farewell. Eunice was brave today, but when the day in and day out routine starts again I know she will miss Duane.
God never intended life to be like this and yet here we are in a big pickle. Death is just around the corner for all of us. Oh my, how did I get so morbid today?
Again and again I pledge to be nicer and more loving to everyone I know and then I fail. I did tie a strangers shoe today, she was too old to bend over and do it herself. Does that count towards being nice, is it enough?
“God’s most precious jewels are crystallized tears,” Barbara Johnson has a book by that name. If you know Barbara’s story you know she has reason to shed tears and yet she has found joy in life.
Here is a little nugget for you, “I’ve learned that my own grief is eased when I can reach out with compassion to help another hurting person whose grief is sharp and fresh.”
I remember when I thought my heart would break. If I think deeply about it I can still feel the pain in my heart and the hot tears start to sting my eyes. She had a long life, but not long enough for me. She loved life and at 91 she was still willing to live a little longer. She was a funny one and at the same time she could irritate me to no end, she was always on my side no matter what. As I rested on her bed with my arms around her I felt my mother take her last breath. I knew I had lost my best friend on this earth, the person who loved me more than she loved her self.
Nancy has watched two sons die, one of AIDS and one of cancer. She helped her mother through a divorce, cared for her mother until she died of cancer and has had breast cancer herself. This is what she says, “God gets you through it. You think, I could never go through all that sadness, but God sees you through. He gives you the strength. I just keep pulling on Philippians 4:13:’I can do all things through Christ. . .'”
The truth is it is not easy, it takes a long time and it is very exhausting to find healing.
Nancy’s heart is patched and mended, held together by God’s love and a craving for joy. “Through all your sorrow, God can help you find joy and happiness.” she said. “I love laughter. I try to laugh every single day. It’s an element that diffuses our temptation to be self-righteous. I love people. And I’ve learned that my own grief is eased when I can reach out with compassion to help another hurting person whose grief is sharp and fresh.”
So my friend if your heart is healing, help someone else who has a fresh broken heart. We all have a story to tell and the telling is the healing balm for the teller and the listener.
Have you ever gone to a circus and watched the elephants? Sometimes they are chained together by just a small chain wrapped around one foot and tied to a small stake. Any one of those elephants could easily rip that stake out of the ground and run away, but that almost never happens. Circus elephants have been trained to forget who they are. Their identity has been taken from them. They have been trained since they were babies to submit when they feel the tug of that chain on their legs. Thetrainer has conditioned the elephants to accept their chains so they can be tamed and controlled and put on display for the entertainment of others.
Many Christians are just like the elephants; they are held hostage by a small chain around their ankles that hold them down and keeps them from getting any where. These people go to church and hear about all the power and spiritual authority that God has for them but they can’t seem to kick free of the chains holding them in bondage.
Just who are you and what is your identity? You are a child of the King, the Holy Father in Heaven. Listen to this–Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me, and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself up for me.” Do you get it? You were crucified with Christ and Christ lives in you, your life is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me!!! Oh what good news.
At the cross a union too place, the death of Jesus was physical and our death was spiritual but that doesn’t make our death any less real.
So how do you make this real in your life? Romans 6:11 says, “consider yourselfes to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.”
I think it just makes sense if we what to be close to Jesus we have to know who we are.