These past few weeks have been an unexpectedly sad time to say the least. It seems that when we go through trials, the events come in a downpour, a dumping of unhappy events, and bad occurrences and just generally a rough season. If its difficult and its gonna have to happen, its gonna happen right then. Or at least it feels that way. Maybe on a normal day, a day when I feel on top of my game or at least rightly balanced it wouldn't be so hard to deal with, but when things are hard, when times are trying, these things tip me in the wrong direction and I topple over with the weight of it all.

Grief is something that is a very personal experience. There is no telling someone that they should get over it, that they should stop being sad and get on with life. The degree in which we mourn a loss is different for each individual and event. I must say that this most recent loss, the passing of my father in law is the single most difficult loss I have ever experienced in my life up to this point. I have lost loved ones, I have made terrible life-changing mistakes, I have endured some pretty intense personal losses, but this one is different for me. I'm at a loss at how to even explain. He was my father in law, yes, but so much more. A mentor, a pastor, a fellow adventurer, most importantly a father figure. He had the unique ability to simultaneously wear the hat of in-law and daddy for me. He could wonder if I was really good enough for his son, and still advise me on how to handle what his son threw at me.

I've been doing a lot of thinking about loss and grief and sadness lately. Mainly because I want to make sure I'm handling this right and not going overboard in how I feel. This week was especially hard as family left and went back to their own homes and lives and my husband went away to catch his breath on the beach somewhere and I was left alone with my feelings. I went back to work and walked around trying to pretend that I wasn't on the verge of tears every other second. The hardest part is going back to normal and standing there lost in your thoughts, and everyday decisions like what to eat for dinner, or watch on tv or what to wear to church, become more than you can bear.
I have grieved before and moved on through life and swept my feelings under the carpet and behind the door and scooped them up and put them in a box under the bed. They go "un-felt" and the healing process doesn't quite happen right because things aren't expressed. Life goes on yes, and the world doesn't stop turning because I just want to lay in bed all day crying.

Jesus dealt with grief. He knew all the reasons why, he understood death in ways we won't understand until the end of time, and yet, when he arrived at Lazarus' tomb, he wept. We can sit here all day and discuss why he cried. The Amplified Bible puts it this way in John 11, When Jesus saw her sobbing, and the Jews who had come with her also sobbing, He was deeply moved in spirit [to the point of anger at the sorrow caused by death] and was troubled, and said, “Where have you laid him?” They said, “Lord, come and see.” Jesus wept. So the Jews were saying, “See how He loved him [as a close friend]!”

Was Jesus grieved because His friends were grieved, or was he expressing His own grief over the death of Lazarus? The point is that He wept over this event.

In Matthew 14, John the Baptist is beheaded by Herod and when Jesus hears the news, He leaves the crowds in a boat and goes off to a remote place to be alone. The crowds follow him, but my point in this is that even Jesus took moments of solitude when grief came into His life.

I can handle my losses in one of two ways: I can sweep them up, hide them away, cover them up and pretend I'm alright so that people don't worry about me and think I'm taking things too hard. I can let my tears come when they will, I can ask the hard questions, even though I know I won't get answers, I can let all of my sadness and grief out to air in the bright sunshine of God's love and acceptance and mercy.

It's okay.


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