my dear friend,
Spring comes, and oh how it comes and swirls the stagnant waters of our souls with sweet sunshine, fresh sprigs of green, and flowers--on the forest floor, along branches, in gardens.
I feel the current of spring carrying me toward things I cannot yet see, like the swollen banks of the Chagrin River after an April rain. I want to lean into the speed and excitement.
But I weep instead.
Death has imposed itself on spring, and one year ago, today, in the midst of the flowering of spring ephemerals, my mum surrendered to that ephemeral nature we must claim as our inheritance from that far-off, yet not-so-far-away event, the Fall. Death is the estate we live on, a brief blip of life that terrifies, amazes, overwhelms--breaks our hearts and blesses them.
Now spring will always be stained. The wildflowers used to bring such innocent, sweet hopefulness. Now the sweet smell mingles with sorrow.
Perhaps we do both, feel the strangely braided rope of joy and sorrow between our fingers, pulling us along. We grieve and are swept toward the next turn in the river. The river cannot see where it will bend and slow--and we are rivers, friends. We weep and yet are promised that the future holds something beautiful beyond imagining. Because God promises he won't just make us forget our sorrows. He will redeem them so deeply, that we will look on the losses and griefs without the pain of sorrow--only the wonder of joy.
I don't really know what that will look like. There are days I don't believe it. But I keep leaning into the current, though I fear the next turn, and ask for what I don't yet understand. I will ask to be healed.
I don't know why my springs are doomed to bittersweetness, or maybe yours, too. Why every moment I want to talk to my mum, or you wish to talk to whomever you have lost will now be an empty ache. I don't know why she died. And I guess I don't need to know. Job didn't need to know. There isn't just one reason for what happens. Loss happens. The Lord knows and I can say he is good, though the words come haltingly some days.
So weep, friends, in the spring, over death, over loss, over disappointment. Let the strange mingling of sorrow and joy strengthen, let it lead you further into the arms of a God who suffered, and who knows you deeply.
with joy + sorrow,
P.S. Grief is inherently lonely--no one can understand or see all of what you suffer when you grieve. But, if you need to share your sorrow with someone, I encourage you to do it, even if you have to ask your friends to ask you about it. I am still learning how to grieve and how to walk with others who grieve. But I am willing to listen to anyone who might need the safety of a heart softened by loss. Please reach out, to me, to a friend, or even best of all, to the God who longs to comfort you. "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me," (from Psalm 23).