I have been absent from this space for a few weeks. Life was in that flux of space between grief and joy and I wasn't sure which emotions and feelings I felt like sharing (or really which ones I even felt) and so I didn't write at all. Which, I have realized in turn, is bad for my soul. I discovered a while ago that, even if I never post publicly, I need to share the words that choke up my heart. In writing, just for myself, over coffee, with others, internally, externally and most importantly with Jesus.
I am not usually one to shy away from openness. I share a lot on here, because I feel that in sharing pain and our own walk with suffering we all help one another. Reading things where people share their hearts helps me realize I am not alone. But on the wake of the second anniversary of my brothers death I felt things that were new, things I wasn't sure how to voice and so I tried to block them out and not think on them. And then a sermon preached this past weekend was the gentle reminder I needed of the Glory that there can be in suffering.
Zach Van Dyke, of Summit Church, preached on Romans Chapter 5 (verses 1-8). He preached about the desire for a happy place, he referenced Inside Out, he quoted Chronicles of Narnia, he shared joy and sadness and he shared that Christianity is not stoicism (listen here). As Christians our hearts will be broken a million times over and it doesn't mean that we can't suffer, that we can't feel sadness or pain or that when we do we should hold it all in. The Glory is IN the suffering. It is in the broken moments when our tears roll down our cheeks and mix with Jesus'. It is the understanding that when we suffer we can also know we are not alone. Jesus' truest Glory came through His most ultimate suffering and it was the thing that saved the entire world.
Suffering and grief are part of the picture of what makes us human. In this world we will suffer. But slowly time heals and suffering and sadness mix with joy and that joy is amplified by the pain that hides underneath. This second anniversary of John Wayne being gone was a strange mix of those feelings. Two days before was my mother's 60th birthday and my sister's 35th and we did the best we could to celebrate that day with joy, but there is a lingering undertone. It is the chance to be together with family and close friends to celebrate, but the reminder of what's missing is forever there and so the laughter and the tears blend together in a mess of BBQ and key lime pie. And that's ok.
Last year the grief was so fresh. This year it left us each trying hard to go about our daily business, some even working longer hours that day to have less time at home. We didn't meet up again, instead leaving the celebration of birth our time together as a family. We reached out to each other via texts and we responded to each others Facebook messages on my his still active page. Calls were harder, as if the sound of a voice would be the cutting edge we needed to break past the floodgates until we all went under together. I am not sure if that was the best means to get us through the day, but it was what we all seemed to need. An unspoken bond that would carry us into the day after. And sometimes that's all it is when sadness and joy morph into a relationship with one another; an unspoken bond of understanding that, though the two might seem polar opposites, they need one another in way that other emotions don't. The reminder that this isn't all there is.