Friday, April 22, 2011

Good Friday

The day we buried Lydia, our bishop’s wife and my dear friend, Erilynne, gave me this. It’s called a holding cross. The angles are skewed and the edges rounded so that it is easy to grip. She held onto it as she struggled through health issues that doctor’s weren’t sure she would overcome. In the moments before we got in the cars to go to the cemetery, she gave it to me.

I don’t remember in detail much about that day. Always I will remember the way it felt as my fingers curled around that cross and gripped it so tightly I had difficulty straightening my fingers when it was time to let it go. It brought Him close on a day He felt far away. It reminded me that I would be with Him one day and this empty, broken part of me would one day be filled and healed.

Today, for the first time since Lydia’s service, I went into the church where we gathered together. I went for a couple of the Good Friday services held there, the cross tucked safely in a pocket in my purse, where it has lived since that first day I held it. I listened as minister’s spoke of Christ and His sacrifice, as they focused today on what the cross means for us.

It’s a holding cross. We hold onto it for dear life on the days we don’t think we can make it through. It brings Him close on days when He feels far away. It reminds us that He has made it possible for us to be with Him, and that one day, He will fill the empty and heal the broken.

Should all else be taken from me, should I be wounded beyond repair, shaken to my core, hopeless beyond words, the Cross stands and I will cling to it. It is unshaken, eternal. It stands to remind me of a love that surpasses my comprehension, that will sustain me though I lose everything and that will one day restore me and make all things new.

I am holding on. On this Good Friday, I pray that you are too.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

How I Am

People have been asking.

We’re twenty-two days away from the anniversary of Lydia’s death. I think anyone who is grieving a loved one will tell you that the anticipation of days like birthdays or anniversaries are often worse than the days themselves. This has been true of me as we’ve walked through the past 343 days.

I’ve been trying to explain to people why (beside the obvious) I’m having such a difficult time with this day. I think I’ve figured it out. Since the day she died, I’ve been trying so hard not to think about the day she died. It would be far too easy to play it over and over and over in my head. But if I had allowed myself to do that, I don’t think I would have lasted long. Reliving her death day would only bring another kind of death.

So, I put it away. That day and the day we buried her, I put those days away. They’re always there, kind of sadly waving at me from the dark corners of my heart. I look, wave back and keep my distance. But now, they’re coming close. The closer they get the more I can see into them. I see the last things and the empty where there was so much fullness before. I see goodbyes and and quiet that nearly kills.

And I am afraid. I wish that I wasn’t and it’s all well and good to say that I shouldn’t be, but I am. I’m afraid of barely healed wounds being torn open again and of desperate doubt growing again in places that I’ve only recently weeded it out.

And I’m sad. A year is no time and so much time. We’ve barely begun life without our girl but every day is one day further away from our life together. My memories are less vivid now than they were and I will sit and watch video after video of her to remember more clearly how she turned her head to look at me or the sound of her little gaspy breaths.

I just want the 28th to come and go so I can look and say, “I made it through a year. I can make it through another one.”

In these days, I’m so thankful for moments of hope. I do not think it is coincidence that made Lydia’s death day and Easter fall within less than a week of each other this year. Easter is another day I’m eager to get past but the proximity will not let me ignore this one thing: Because He lives, so does she. All of the memories that I’ve been trying to keep at bay, the agony of letting her go and carrying on without her - this is not the end of her story.

And it isn’t the end of mine. There is life for me. There is life for Micah. And hopefully our lives will mean life for someone else. I have hope that our arms will not be empty forever. I have hope that all this love we have to give is not for nothing. And even if these things never come to be, I can still have hope because He is alive.

Unfortunately, staring down this month, hope isn't always my first response. If you think of it, please pray that the hope would make its way through the fear, that a light would shine in the dark places and that as we approach this death day, we hold on to the promise of the life she has with Him.