Wednesday, January 14, 2015

On Grief and Chesed

I've had a lot of people ask how we are doing.

I can't speak for all.  I can tell you that we are all grieving differently.  Some are crying themselves to sleep.  Others are staying busy and organizing.  Some others still haven't had time to process everything, being slammed on all sides.  All of us are trying to find a new normal.  Some are wondering about God's ways and how they could be left behind.  Others are trying to not fall into bad habits, trying to remember that only God can heal ache. We are all hurting.  Each in his own way.

But, me.  All I can think about is the Hebrew word, chesed.

The other day while at my happy place, maybe you've heard of Target??, I saw rich and thick and luxurious bath towels begging to come home with me.  They were the darkest and most glorious hue of midnight teal.  I hadn't bought new towels in a few years.  I had a coupon.  I decided to splurge on cotton.

I washed those puppies right up and dried them so we could use them as soon as possible.  I just love having new towels, all of that puffy lint clinging to the dryer vent.  The beeper-buzzer beeped and buzzed at me and I couldn't resist it.  I wrapped myself up in a thick warm towel and found myself like a one year old with a favorite blankie; I was secure and peaceful and at rest.

To me, these past days have been like the towel experience.  I feel embraced.  Warm.  Peaceful.  At rest.

This shocks me completely. My grief with my sister Kiley was nothing like this.  At all.  I am not sure exactly why grief looks differently this time.  I loved them both a ton.  Is it because Kiley's passing was such a shock?  Is it because I was able to do a ton of grieving over Herb while he was still with us?  I don't have all the answers, but I know that it has been a completely different experience.

If I could sum up my tears, it would be this:  I am broken but I am not forsaken.

I think God used Kiley's death to teach me so many things, including his affection towards me.  He didn't allow her to die because he is cruel. He didn't allow Herb to die because He is aloof or incapable of healing.  I have such a more mature view of who He is.  No, I don't have His ways figured out, but I am better able to rest, knowing I never will.

He is God.  That is enough for me.  It doesn't keep me from crying or missing or wishing things had been different.  But it is a good plan and I will choose to see it that way, even though we are war-torn on this battlefield, wondering why our "captain" had to go.

I want to tell you about this Hebrew word, chesed.

I remember it like yesterday, sitting in Herb's Sunday school class, newly married to his first born son.  I loved being under his teaching, and always hated that when we knew it was time to leave that church, we would no longer get his teaching in a formal setting.  I remember Herb telling us about this special word called chesed.

The loving-kindess of God.  The favor of God.  The loyal love of rich that He would send His son to die in our place so we could know Him again.  The compassion, steadfast love, and goodness of One totally other and absolutely Holy.

Herb wanted us all to know about that kind of God.  That kind of love.

No matter what you are going through, God is there, wrapping you up warm and tight so that you can rest.

We are broken but never forsaken.

{Thank you for your prayers.  We still need them desperately and beg you to continue.}