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Monday, April 21, 2014
Monday Mourning -- The Walk
This month's While We're Waiting Weekend was no exception. I scribbled down several bits of wisdom I wanted to remember. The thing that has stuck with me the most from that weekend, though, I didn't even write down. In fact, I don't even remember who said it ... I think it was one of the dads, but I could be wrong! But I will never forget what he (or she?) said.
He brought up Isaiah 40:31 and said that he always felt that the Scripture was a little bit backward. He said it had always seemed to him that we walk first, then we run, then we fly. But, since losing his child, he understood it differently. That "walking" was last, because that was the hardest thing ... the daily walk of a bereaved parent.
Wow! That was so profound to me. I think that's why I didn't write it down ... I was sort of frozen in thought for a few moments. What he (she? I wish I could remember!) said was so true.
I think that many of us who have lost children, especially those of us who are Christians, are able to fly for awhile after their deaths. I mean, we have our faith, we have our church family supporting us ... and we have this "responsibility" to be a good witness to others in the midst of our suffering. Hey, I'm just keeping it real! After all, people are watching us, and we can't let God down by completely falling apart, at least in public, right? I've got my tongue in my cheek here, but I know that many of you understand what I'm saying. Seriously, there is a period of time when we are buoyed up by the love and prayers of family and friends, and God mercifully grants a numbness that can keep us soaring through those early days.
Eventually, the numbness begins to wear off, and we hit the ground. At this point, though, we're still able to run. People are still sensitive to our loss, and are still kindly (if somewhat awkwardly, at times) reaching out to us and praying for us. Our kids are being talked about, maybe even honored, and that's a good feeling. Maybe our faith has been shaken, but it's stood the test, and with God's help, we're still running the race.
As time continues to pass and everyone else goes back to their normal lives, enjoying vacations with their families, celebrating holidays and posting pictures of their smiling children on Facebook, and angrily complaining when McDonalds gives them regular Coke instead of Diet Coke at the drive-through ... that's when the walking begins. Our friends and family assume that surely we are "over it" by now, and we seldom, if ever, hear our child's name spoken anymore.
And every day, every minute, we miss our child. There's an unoccupied bedroom, an empty seat at the table, and a gaping hole in our hearts. This is when the truly hard work of grief begins. Reality has set in, and we are finally beginning to fully realize that life will never be the same. It's the walk, the daily walk, that can be so very tough. In fact, sometimes it's more like a trudge than a walk.
So how do we keep from fainting as we walk this rocky road of grief? The first part of the verse gives us the answer ... We wait on the Lord and allow Him to renew our strength. In fact, in the verses just prior to this one, we are assured that He Himself never grows tired or weary, and that He gives strength and power to the weary and the weak.
So maybe it's not backwards. It makes sense to me when I think about it that way. And that encourages me as I walk (and sometimes trudge) this road each day.
"Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and His understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." Isaiah 40:28-31