It’s been two weeks since my mom died and went home to be with the Lord.
To be honest with you, I’ve been somewhere between numb and sad consistently. Sure, I can throw on a smile and turn on the charm when necessary, but internally – sadness and numbness have encompassed my heart. It feels so commonplace to say this, but it’s like navigating through a fog 24/7.
There will be moments when I feel like I’m progressing and then I’ll just break down into tears. Here’s a story for you: Chels and I went on a date the other night to go see the new Disney movie “Inside Out”. Incredible movie. Highly recommend it, but that’s beside the point…
We’re watching the movie and I’m captivated, laughing and then – BAM – out of nowhere – tears. I’m a GROWN MAN CRYING AT INSIDE OUT….WHAT’S WRONG WITH ME?!?! Me and the 7 year old girl next to us. Awesome.
However, as I reflected I realized two things. One, my mom and I always watched Disney movies together. Every new Disney movie I would take her to see. It was OUR thing. It was our tradition. Two, it’s a story about a family. At the beginning, I was thinking about Davy, yet as the movie progressed I began to think about the fact that I’ll grow up the rest of my life without my mom. Maybe that’s selfish? In the moment all I knew is that it was heart wrenching.
A Grief Observed
The last few weeks, I’ve spent ample time swimming amongst the words C.S. Lewis penned in “A Grief Observed” where he reflects on the death of his wife, Joy.
A few phrases have helped give me a language for grief. He refers to the death of a loved one as an “amputation” – losing something that was so intrinsically a part of you that it feels unnatural. In speaking of his wife’s absence he states, “Her absence is like the sky, spread over everything”. My mom’s absence feels this way. How do you forget about the most influential figure of your life? You don’t. It’s simply ever present. It’s the sky overhead.
In regards to sorrow he writes, “I thought I could describe a state; make a map of sorrow. Sorrow, however, turns out to be not a state but a process.” This haunts me. I wish sorrow was a state, because those change fluidly, but it’s not a state – it’s a process. The emotional and spiritual map is constantly shifting to new landscapes of which I feel ill prepared for the terrain.
There are moments I can hear my soul speak the words of Job’s wife, “Are you still holding on to your integrity? Curse God and die!” (Job 2:9). Believe me – in many weak moments this is how I feel, yet I’m strengthened by Job’s response. “Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” (Job 2:10). Later in Job 13:15 he will say, “Though you slay me I will hope in you.” I’ve blogged about that specific passage before here.
On nights like tonight, where I’m weary, tired and sad – I preach to my soul and say, “Shall we not accept good from God and not trouble? God, though you slay me I will hope in you”.
As Lewis continues, “We were promised sufferings. They were part of the program. We were even told, ‘Blessed are they that mourn,’ and I accept it. I’ve got nothing that I hadn’t bargained for. Of course it is different when the thing happens to oneself, not to others, and in reality, not in imagination.” Suffering, cancer, sick babies, death…they were promised to us. Yet, in reality, they are much more challenging than simply reading about it in a book.
In these moments of grief, where nothing will satisfy, I realize Lewis’ wisdom, “I need Christ, not something that resembles him.”
I must remind my heart that Jesus is better. I have to remind myself because I’m prone to wonder. I have to remind myself because it’s true. Jesus IS better. He’s better than comfort food. He’s better than porn. He’s better than cheap experiences. He’s better than man’s thin approval. He’s better than alcohol. He’s better than drugs. He’s better than work. He’s better than Netflix. He’s better than all the things we run to when we’re trying to fill voids in our souls.
Jesus. Is. Better.
God, help us run to Jesus, not cheap replicas.