Loss Made Full
“He will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove the disgrace of his people from all the earth. The Lord has spoken.” – Isaiah 25:8
The room dark, ushered sacred serenity – pregnant with quiet exquisiteness…
I had met the woman lying in bed while she filled empty cups of broken souls. She was like a woman at a well pouring life into earthen vessels. Otherworldly, she spoke soft, a dignified cadence upon her lips. In my more than three years at the Hope Lodge I had not met an individual quite like her. She was dying. Yet, she held no resentment, no bitter anger. I watched her give comfort to those who came to offer theirs. Her soft voice singing, “It’s okay. It will be okay.” I’ll be honest, I wanted to curl up in bed with her, tuck my head in the cleft of her chin, wrap my arms around her and sing – sing songs of worship in Jesus’s blood, amazing grace, heaven, and victory.
Our sweet Patient Navigator, Melanie, anointed her with oil (not actual oil, but words of affirmation, joy, and the promise of dancing with Jesus); she covered her with merciful touches. The three of us came to tell her what an inerasable person she was. Her life had touched more for the glory of the Lord than she would ever know. My heart filled with the promises God asks us to cleave too.
“You will lose someone you can’t live without, and your heart will be badly broken, and the bad news is that you never completely get over the loss of your beloved. But this is also the good news. They live forever in your broken heart that doesn’t seal back up. And you come through. It’s like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly – that still hurts when the weather gets cold, but you learn to dance with the limp.” – Anne Lamott
“Praise be to God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.” – 2 Corinthians 1: 3-5
I heard his assured voice on the other line. As I spoke with him and his wife I knew they brought with them a current of grace. They would inevitably affect the tide of our Hope Lodge for the positive over the six weeks they were with us. They came to serve, and spoke words of affirmation to any and every one they came in contact with.
Charles is a dignified man. He carries himself with respect and assured fluidity. Well dressed in clothing and in spirit…
Charles and Mavis came back to the Lodge on Wednesday June 10th with many of the guests who stayed with them. They provided an amazing lunch and dinner for our current guests, wonderful entertainment, and gave us a large monetary donation. All of this was extremely humbling, yet, the largest reward was hearing all the guests that had played a hand in this event share their experiences and gratitude.
The cancer had taken its toll on Charles. He was a shadow of his former self. His body was weak, but his spirit was strong.
I walked over to him and grabbed his hands; tears dripped down both of our faces. “I want you to know that I love you Charles. You have meant so much to me. You have impacted my life in ways I cannot fully explain,” my voice trembled as I spoke. He kissed me on the cheek, told me he loved me, and we parted ways that night…
“The darker the night, the brighter the stars, the deeper the grief, the closer is God!” – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
“The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer, my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” – Psalm 18:2
I don’t know what happens after the last feathered breath is taken? What it feels like to slip from this world into the unseen? Yet, I know that to be absent from this body is to present with our sweet Lord. I know this is a very good thing. There is peace in trusting that the one who conquered the grave has gone before us. Yet, to find fullness in Him amidst great tragedy is hard. It leaves one with an urgency to speak love at the very moment it is felt, ask to sit at one’s table again and again, bring others close to our campfire, and understand that relationship – even if your heart is torn asunder – is a rich gift.
“Weeping may remain for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.” – Psalm 30:5
Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. – 1 Corinthians 13:7
Though he brings grief, he also shows compassion because of the greatness of his unfailing love. – Lamentations 3:32 NLT
And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye! – Antoine de Saint-Exupery; The Little Prince
A precious friend and I talked about the tangible reality of dragons and as Christ followers our purpose to aid in healing. She prayed, “help us be ready to rub the sweet salve of your grace into the unscaled”. The ‘sweet salve of grace’ – may we carry this fragrant balm to every life we touch.
“Only people who are capable of loving strongly can also suffer great sorrow, but this same necessity of loving serves to counteract their grief and heals them.” – Leo Tolstoy
God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him. – John Piper
May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.
– Hebrews 13: 20-21