We are just back from Phoenix, trading sunshine and seventy degrees for two inches of snow and freezing. The trip was not for pleasure, rather we went to grieve with my daughter-in-law. Lauren lost her father to cancer. He was too young to die, and she is too young to lose her dad.
But it happened.
Finding words to comfort is not easy – and so I rest in the Great Comforter. In a perfectly timed email, a friend of mine re-posted a tribute to her father who died 11 years ago. Her description of grieving and grace is a beautiful offering, not only to her earthly father, but also to God the Father. For those who grieve today, may you rest in one grace at a time.
The call you dread and fear and never expect comes.
It’s mom. “Joann, your father died this morning. Please come home as soon as you can. I need you.” Like an arrow out of no-where, somewhere, it hits first the head, then the heart, and slowly the pain sinks into your bones. One day you’re relaxing on the beach, washing off the stress of a difficult term, and 24 hours later you’re wandering in a daze around international airports—Phuket, Bangkok, Narita—all jammed with people, and yet feeling so incredibly alone. The words keep shouting in your soul. “Joann, your father has died,” slamming against your bones and your organs and your skin like a bullet ricocheting around a steel cavern. You try to drive them away with polite conversation, with reading, with hymn-singing, hoping against hope that driving the words away will drive the reality away as well.
But then the words and reality force their way back and the pain starts again. “Joann, your precious father stepped into glory this morning.” “Joann, your wonderful father went home to be with his Savior.” With every fiber of my being I believe these words, but don’t want to believe them at the same time. He was a precious father, but now he is lost in wonder, love and grace in the presence of Jesus.
Yet here at 30,000 feet above the Pacific Ocean, I feel just plain lost. Lost in sadness. Lost in pain.
I know he’s with his Savior, but I want him here with us.
How will I get through the next ten hours on this plane? How will I bear to see my mom and sister and her family at the end of this long journey? One hour at a time, one grace at a time. “He giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater; He giveth more strength as the labors increase. To added affliction, He addeth more mercy; to multiplied sorrows, He multiplies peace.”
Then it hits me. Despite the pain, I too am lost in love and grace. Sustaining grace– Read more here.
- A Tribute to My Father (joannpittman.com)
- Life-Changing Grace: Les Miserables (generatethelight.com)