I keep thinking about this John Piper quote someone sent me right after George died. I don't remember it verbatim, but basically he was saying to let yourself cry, yell, sit in the sadness and pain but then to put on your make up and keep doing life. He obviously said it much more eloquently than that but it stuck with me and lately I've been feeling like it's ringing true of my life. I spent the first 10 or so weeks after George Mason went to be with Jesus, really sitting in my grief. Intentionally processing and making time to feel the things I was feeling and try to identify them. Then I got really tired. I was tired of facing the pain every day. Tired of constantly trying to put words to the emotions that were overwhelming my soul. Tired of the funk that came with allowing myself to cry or yell or whatever may be. So I stopped being so intentional and started just letting the tears come as they may. Letting this work of grief feel less like work and just living life.
In so many ways I think that was such a good thing. It was needed. I had cried for George and now it was time to put on my make up and go about life. I started to feel less sad. I cried less often but when I did cry, it was big. It was almost like because I wasn't forcing myself to feel it or whatever, that I was fine until something turned on the faucet. I still face these emotions daily. I still cry and yell. I still can find things in my day/life to be thankful for. God hasn't left me alone in this grief. He hasn't looked at me and said "that's enough sadness, Jillian, time to be happy." He continues to hold my hand (and my heart) and comfort me through this process. He continues to be the good and gracious and merciful and steadfast God that I've been getting to know since I was a little girl.
I woke up this morning to rain. It seems like we've had so much rain this year... but this was a good thing for once. It's been hot and dry and the rain brought cooler temperatures and a wonderful breeze. I'm thankful for the rain but it makes me sad at the same time. My mood is so affected by the weather but this rain, this brief storm, reminds me of something so important: storms end. They don't go on forever. They come in and change your surroundings so drastically for however long they last and then they go away. They disappear and reveal the sunshine. They leave and take with them the cold and wet and grey and give us the sun. But they don't leave without a trace. The rain brings with it new life. Water to better grow the things all around us. A respite from the heat. Downed trees or flooded rivers. Sometimes the trace is good and sometimes it's bad.
I'm not usually thankful for storms, but this one is a helpful reminder. This "storm" in my life WILL END. There will come a day when this suffering is over and the sunshine will be revealed. But just like a good storm leaves its mark, there will be things about this moment in time that are different on the other side of this storm. My heart will always have the scar of this brokenness. My family will always be missing one of its members. My faith will be stronger. After all, I'm serving a God who calms the storm. The God who in one breath told the waves to be still! That's the God that loves me and comforts me. That's the God who is with me in this storm. I don't know when He will say those words but I know He will. I'm thankful for this storm. I'm thankful for the ability to keep myself busy. I'm thankful for those moments when the pain overwhelms me and I allow myself to sit in it because one day this storm will be over and every time I cry Ilet myself get a little closer to the Holy Comforter. So today, in the gloomy gray of this rainy day, I'm thanking God for the reminder that He is the one who will calm the storm and that one day the sunshine will begin to peek through the clouds. I’m going to keep taking those words from John Piper to heart. I’m going to let myself cry when necessary and then wash my face and go about my day.
On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” -Mark 4:35-41