In many ways I am a late-comer to grief. Providence has arranged for me to born late enough to be safely distant from the passing of older generations of family, and young enough to have most immediate family with me still. My wife lost her grandfather ten years ago, and although that was a seismic event in our lives, it was one of the few I have felt personally.
Until now. My childhood best buddy died suddenly just the other day. I am shocked over the shock that I feel. His death has led to a reclaiming and reopening of a chest of memories that time has buried under other boxes of life’s events. I sort through mental images that span from 9 to 19 and beyond. I have forgotten how much I remember. And in ways that seem irrational, I weep. With a death of a childhood friend, I feel, or fear-to-feel, the death of part of childhood.
Death makes the speed of life come to a screeching halt. Beside the grief of losing a loved one, another message resonates. Love one another. Love one another deeply and fiercely. Time and distance happen. Life happens. Love is greater. Loyalty is stronger. Handle with care the people and relationships God gives you. People: friends, family, friends… and family… people matter. Not one of them can be replaced. God has graced each of them uniquely to landscape our lives. They are here for us to love and encourage, and we are there to serve, love, and celebrate their lives. We are here, under God, to enrich one another’s lives.
I know we get annoyed. I know we prefer some people in smaller doses. I know that the fellowship of certain people actually aggravates us. I don’t mean to say we should discard healthy boundaries or sweep real problems under the rug. But if it is possible for love to cover a multitude of sins, let alone a handful of hurts, then let us love one another deeply and fiercely while we can. It strikes me that as Jesus was preparing for his last moments with his disciples, one of the most urgent commands he gave them was love. He implored them to “love one another; As I have loved you, you must love another” (John 13:34). The frailty and finality of life reminds us of the priceless and timeless power of love. Let us love one another. We’ll never regret loving generously. We might regret anything less.
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Thanks for reading,
Yes, oh yes indeed! You have captured the experience of my own heart!
Beautiful post. I am sorry to hear about the loss of your friend.
Brian~ I had not known much of grief, as I was a child when my great grandmothers passed. I did not have grandparents who lived close and did not know them well at all. Life was good for me…until…my Mom passed away suddenly, unexpectedly due to a medical malpractice situation. Two years later I suddenly and unexpectedly lost my beloved Rog after nearly thirty years of marriage…which devastated me to the core of my being for a very long time. The grief was more than I could bear, but Jesus literally held me together and urged me to walk on in life with His strength. Then four years later my oldest son, Michael suddenly and unexpectedly died.~ Let me say here that grief has a life of it’s own. As deeply as you loved that person who has passed, you will enter a similar depth of grief that you will travel through…and that’s the operative word…through. We must move through the grief and not get stuck in a pining, which can happen if we are not holding onto HIM who is life. Death is part of life, but it’s a tough pill to swallow even when your loved ones are in Christ. For me it just felt so final. I will never see them again here on this side…will never laugh with them again…will never share life with them here, and it’s just final. Much like the closing of a book you have very much enjoyed. Grief changes YOU. When God is active in the process with you, you are being changed…from ‘strength to strength’, from ‘glory to glory.’ The good news is that Jesus Christ has conquered death, hell and the grave and He grants His followers an incredible peace and a marvelous healing. We come out on the other side of grief richer and our memories of our beloveds are so sweet to reminisce over! Glory to Jesus!
Thanks for linking us to this. You have grown up to be both a man of God and a captivating writer. And thanks for sharing our grief.