living in between

September 9, 2011

I’ve been blown away by the responses from my last post, and very honored to have read it today as part of the eulogy for my departed brother.  It was a tear-filled day for most of us and now the numbness is setting in… is this even real?  Am I going to wake up now?  I’m sure he’ll just call or text me any day now.  I know I’m not alone in these questions.  Many have expressed this kind of doubtful malaise that sets in after so much emotion and grief.  We still feel this loss but don’t seem able to stay connected to it in any meaningful way.

As hard as it is we should examine our grief rather than waste it.  I seem to recall Jesus asking the question on more than one occasion “why are you weeping?”  Regardless of the context I’m pretty sure it’s a safe bet that he already knew exactly why they were weeping.  It could be that he wanted them to connect deeply with their grief and examine their wounded hearts.  Words just seem so inadequate to express the emptiness and loss.  But why is it loss?  Because love is a reality, even in this broken place.  If we didn’t love Adam this day would have been a great day to simply enjoy the weather and then listen to politicians over promise and under deliver (sorry I guess that’s in their job description).   We do love Adam and that is why it hurts.  In the words of C.S. Lewis: “The pain I feel now is the happiness I had before.  That’s the deal.”  So we have all these memories that are flooding back and bring this strange mixture of joy and sadness.  Joy that we experienced these things and this person, and sadness that we won’t have the opportunity to share them with him again… at least for now.

If we are to have any substantial hope in this life it must be anchored to the next.  Death loses in the end for us because it has already lost to the One it could not keep.  While we give mental assent to this and even sense the longing for it in our hearts we still know the experience of death to be very real.  And very painful.  By faith we see the empty tomb in front of us and that is where our hope rests but we still have the here-and-now to deal with… work, school, bills, even funeral arrangements.  Our experience now is characterized by this tension between the joys of love and the sadness of loss.  Our experience then will have no loss and only the joy of love will remain.   It is in this tension that hope is born, and hope is a painfully beautiful thing.

And there will come a time, you’ll see, with no more tears.
And love will not break your heart, but dismiss your fears.
Get over your hill and see what you find there,
With grace in your heart and flowers in your hair.  –Mumford and Sons


3 Responses to “living in between”

  1. Whew…life is sometimes difficult to understand, especially, when we lose someone dear to us. I can’t explain it…my heart goes out to you Forrest. Hang in there. I’m praying for you and your family.

  2. Mom Says:

    Once again I find comfort in your words. Thank you.

  3. Adam never understood the concept of authority, which is a tragedy in and of itself. But it is my belief that he knew the lord, so we have the hope of seeing him again someday. I loved Adam and ached for him. Someday that will all be revealed. For now, I grieve that he is no longer with us.

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