I was pleasantly surprised by my reaction to yesterday’s 3 month marker. I never really know what to expect from each day but milestone dates seem to always hurt just a little more. However, I have found through the process of grieving my mom that I tend to prepare myself for those known hard days a little more and that tends to make them less hard than the random days where it just stings out of nowhere. I’m really glad yesterday wasn’t hard. I’m really glad that God met me in that milestone and gave me the peace to enjoy the day and to celebrate George Mason’s life. I’m really glad that my God cares for me so much that things like that are possible. And then I wake up and its a new day.
As I was walking around the park this morning, my eyes filled with tears as I talked through some of the stuff of grief with a friend. I’m doing ok. When people ask that question, the honest answer is usually just, I’m doing. But the truth is, I’m doing ok. I’m not a ball of depression - not that I absolutely won’t experience that ever - or constantly angry. I haven’t lost my ability to care about or enjoy this life. I’m doing life, moving forward, and that’s just going to have to be my definition of OK. When I look backwards over these last 3 months I can find days where my attitude was in the dumps. I can also find days where I was praising Jesus for the big and little things. If I really examine my day to day, minute by minute, life experiences, there’s a lot of crappy, there’s a lot of frustration, there’s a lot of questions for God, but there’s also always hope.
I don’t have a timeline to meet or a milestone to pass that is going to suddenly make everything ok or right. The ONLY thing that is going to do that is heaven. Paradise with Jesus and the eternity that I will spend there is the only place, only way, that I’m going to be truly, 100% OK. It’s the only way that all of my questions or frustrations are going to be given answers. The void in my life of a child, a precious sweet little boy named George Mason, in heaven is only going to be made right when I enter eternity. So as long as God has me breathing on this earth, I’m going to have this really crummy thing in my story and a very real filter through which I see and experience this world and that is grief.
I find myself constantly drawn back into the Psalms. I think because they are so full of emotion. There is utter desperation for things to be made right. There is loss, suffering, death, weeping, and any other handful of sad or sorrowful emotions and circumstances. The words are raw and real. They are fitting for the suffering we experience because of the curse of sin. But the psalms don’t stop there. Sure, the writers laid out their hearts - farts, warts, and all, as my mom would say - but they always ended up coming back to where they started: with a God who is almighty and who loves in a capacity we can’t even begin to understand. Those words of despair and torment always lead back to a place of hope and often even in rejoicing. When I think about my life and my grief, those psalms tell my story. No, I’m not being chased by a foreign army and I don’t think anyone out there is trying to kill me, but this loss is a kind of suffering that I could have never prepared myself for. My heart aches in ways I didn’t know were possible. Yet, it also loves in ways I didn’t know possible. God designed us in His image. We are capable of so much because He made us and sustains us. The psalms remind me of that. They show me that deep despair and sorrow isn’t the end. They show me there is always hope, the cliche light at the end of the tunnel. That light may or may not be on this side of heaven, but its there, its true, and it will not fail.
I may be in a period of my life where things are hard and the bad days outnumber the good ones. This season may last until my dying breath or it may not. But no matter the circumstances, no matter the good days or bad days, this lens through which I’m now experiencing life is part of my story. It’s part of my testimony as God’s child. It is what God has allowed for me and I have to trust that even though I don’t have the answers to all of my questions, that God is going to continue to sustain me through it. I think there will always be a twinge of grief in the filter of my life. I don’t think that my love for my son will ever go away or not be a part of how I experience and do life. God gave George Mason to me. I can’t erase that from my story. God also took him home to heaven after only 16 hours. I can’t erase that from my story either.
Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am in distress; my eye is wasted from grief; my should and my body also. For my life is spent with sorrow, and my years with sighing; my strength fails because of my iniquity and my bones waste away. - Psalm 31:9-10
But I trust in you, O LORD; I say, “You are my God.” My times are in your hand; rescue me from the hand of my enemies and from my persecutors! Make your face shine on your servant; save me in your steadfast love! - Psalm 31:14-15
Blessed be the LORD, for he has wondrously shown his steadfast love to me when I was in a besieged city. I had said in my alarm, “I am cut off from your sight.” But you heard the voice of my please for mercy when I cried to you for help. - Psalm 31:21-22
Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations. -Psalm 100