Saturday, May 13, 2023

 Good Grief

Nine months ago we dropped our oldest child off to college. Forty-nine hours ago we helped her move back home for the summer.  As we were clearing out her dorm room we reminisced how quickly the school year had gone and how emotional the initial drop off was. 

“This moving home is a lot less emotional,” my wife noticed.

“What needs to be loaded first,” I asked.

“It was so fun moving you in…we had your room looking so nice!” She insisted.

“What do you want me to take to the vehicle first?”

“I loved your bedding…it looked so cozy.”

“Can I take this?...Is this ready to go?”

“Dad!? When you dropped me off you were so emotional, why are you being so pushy to get loaded?” my daughter questioned.

“I was not emotional, I was grieving.”

“You were emotional…grief is an emotion…why are you not emotional now?”

“Who’s to say I am not emotional now? I replied stoically.

“You don’t look like you’re grieving.”

“I am not grieving…I am scared.”

“Scared of what?”

“Of you moving home back into our house!...I think we need to consider rent…”

I must confess that when we first moved Hannah into school, I indeed encountered a great deal of grief, and yet in many ways that grief has passed.  Over the past few days, I have pondered as to why my sorrow had ebbed.  Though I am not an expert in human emotions and reactions, I have come to believe two things about that grievous moment.  First, my grief was real.  In many ways, I was suffering a loss.  My daughter was leaving home, and the little girl that I had reared, taught and loved had grown up and was no longer the little curly-haired, gum-chewing, cutie, singing “These feet…are gonna’ follow…” in front of the church family.  Now, she is an adult heading into the world to make her own decisions and live her own life…and to come home to wash her clothes and eat our food.

Second, is that my grief was temporary. I think that the short term nature in my grief lies in the truth that hope remained.  Hope is the key in dealing with grief.  I still have hope for her future…end even more so, in my hope of a future with God and her future with God.  Whether we lose a loved one to death, a job and therefore financial security, a daughter to college or a son to the temptations of the world, we can process the grief with the help of the Holy Spirit as He encourages us with the promised hope of a future with God. 

In 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, Paul begins to navigate the challenges of grief.  Perhaps the powerful key in this passage is how Paul reminds us that we, “do not grieve as the world, who have no hope.”

Grief is real, and it is tough.  There is no way around it…grief is hard.  However, for those who have put their faith in Jesus for their salvation, we can have a hope for a future with Jesus.  The promise was proven true by the resurrection of Christ. 

The hope is in the day when all who have put their trust in Jesus will be resurrected just as He was and to be with Him!

May you come to see the hope beyond grief and may that hope help you as you navigate the hard road of sorrows.

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