I’ve been thinking a lot about heaven these days. I never really gave it much of a thought before Chris passed. I took for granted that he’d be much older before he’d leave earth and trade it for heaven.
Time is a strange respector of no one. The hands of a clock stop for nothing, death and loss are never enough to cause pause. The sun rises and sets, shining light or causing shadows never stopping to pay homage to the ones who are no longer with us. Seasons run from winter chills to summer sunshine, even though those of us left here are not ready to smile and turn our faces into its warmth.
Grief has an even stranger clock, season and calendar. One day the sun, in our hearts, will come up and there will be a moment of joyous remembrance, and the next moment the sun sets rapidly. Some days are normal in length, and seem to go smoothly. And the next day, it seems we’ve lived a lifetime in a few short hours. And yet, only moments later, we’re sped forward and, it seems like, only seconds have passed since we’ve seen and held the most precious portions of our hearts. Seasons, well… it is often a bitter, cold, winter wind that blows through that hole in our heart. But every once in awhile, a memory will trigger the warm of summer sunshine and we turn our faces towards heaven and say, “Thank-you God.” The grievers sense of time has many pauses, in fact, it seems to be in a permanent state of either pause or slow motion. The hands of the grief clock move painfully slow and silent. One day you’ll see a movement forward, and the next day it will be in the exact same place it was the day before.
Be patient with the grievers clock. It’ll never tick like yours. A griever will never be in the same place, same season or same daylight hours as you, who are standing outside looking in. It may seem tedious, annoying or even create impatience. Aw… but there is just no rushing the healing and the terrible ache, no matter how well meaning the words and actions are.
Likewise, there is not, in this strange sense of time and seasons, an expectation that those outside know just where they are or that they somehow make it better or fix it. We know you cannot be here with us in this exact moment. We also know, you do not understand our strange clocks and the way the actions of its hands tick or move. I’d challenge you to stand near by anyway. The griever needs the familiar to step in and hold the clocks hand steady at times, because sometimes it will begin to spin out of control. That familiar face, action or voice is often the only thing that reminds them that Jesus has hands and feet here and that they haven’t lost their minds or their friends.
It has been 1 year, 23 months, 1 day and nearly 3 hours… since I walked with Chris as far as I could, and had to say goodbye. I’ll not be moving on, I’ll not suddenly get over it, I’ll not ever be all better… however, I will take steps forward always with his memory near, it will never be the same, just different. Thanks for letting me be vulnerable here. Thank you for being brave enough to stand near by, in this unpredictable grief storm. I appreciate knowing I am not alone. Blessings.