Sitting Shiva

CandleMy husband and I are sitting with a friend over lunch, asking him about grief. He’s been through a lot of it (in fact he’s going through it now). People now come to him, asking him how to deal with grief—both their own and others.

I confessed to him that grief scares me. As someone who has never personally experienced a deep, long-lasting sorrow, I wait with sick anticipation for the ball to drop and for it to be “my turn.”

“It’s a part of the journey of life,” I tell him. “Everyone must experience it.”

He knows. But he says I can’t look at life that way. He says you can never really prepare yourself for what you experience in life—the good and the bad.

I tell him I want to be more compassionate to others and avoid the blunders people make when emoting to those suffering deep loss.

He gives me some tips.

And I pray.

I know the theological answer to suffering. Life is full of loss because of the fall of humanity. God didn’t design death, grief, and loss to be a part of human existence. And God conquered death so that we could live eternally. But does that help me now, in the middle of the mess?

Does it help me love those who are hurting more than simply sitting with them in their grief would? I don’t know.

But what I do know is this: I’ve seen it.  I’ve seen great loss. Seen loss so deep that it rips your body in half and exposes your heart to the frigid air of existence. I’ve felt death’s breath on my neck. I’ve prayed, “Lord, let me bleed for what makes you bleed. Break my heart with the things that break Yours,” and He does.

And what I see through the Spirit is a tear. A slow gush of compassion from the heart of God—like a mother who weeps for the loss of her child. I see that just as Jesus wept over the loss of His dear friend Lazarus, God weeps over us. And not just those of us who are living in sin apart from Him, but those of us who bear the consequences of the sin that pervades our very world: sickness, death, abuse, immorality, isolationism—the ones clothed in the righteousness of his mercy, who are accosted by the influences of Satan’s influence in our world.

And I know that although Christ has conquered evil on the cross, Satan and his ways still have influence in the world until Christ’s final return when He will wipe the slate clean.

So, what I’m left with is this single question from the mouth of God to my heart, “Kalene, how am I restoring the world?” Translation: what am I [God] doing now to bring My kingdom, My restoration to the world right now, in the midst of all the pain and heart ache?

The answer is, He’s doing everything. All I have to do is look around and see it.  


Wow. It's Quiet Here...

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