Science says the moon makes Earth’s tides swell. It says the two — earth and moon — are tethered to one another through gravitational force, and all of Earth’s oceans rage when the moon waxes full and strong.
When I stand at my grandfather’s grave for the first time in the two years since his burial, I stand there under a waxing moon and in the swell of my own oceans undulating under the hold of grief’s gravity. There I am, between the trees, standing in the chill of an arctic air mass with no scarf, no hat. I want to move my mouth and make words come from my lips, but I cannot, with my face frozen in New York’s cold, bitter wind.
A pile of bones I am, shivering and shaking, putting off all I want to say to my grandfather, laid low beneath the ground. Can I really whisper confessions aloud into the wind, telling him how it feels like he, just days ago, slipped his way through the back door of my townhome? It feels like just yesterday he walked up my stairs and sang a song or two to his mesmerized great-grandson.
I want to look long and loving, one last time, into his face; I want to memorize the constellation of freckles on his cheeks and smooth that furrow in his brow. I want to tell him not to worry, that I’m okay, we’re all okay. And then I’d cry somewhere where he wouldn’t see me, so my tears don’t hold him back from earth’s release.
As long as I live, I will never again touch the hands of my grandfather. I will walk out the rest of my brief time on this earth wanting him and missing him. Needing him but not having him. And, as with all my grief? The many ways in which I carry the weight of lost friends and lost dreams? The way I cradle a fractured faith and that fearful dread of all the other ways the world will take and take. Things fracture, and grief is inevitable. And my heart will always wring out trauma’s tears, cried and spilled out, ever mourning the way life breaks and betrays and borrows without returning that which should belong.
Your life will also thrash with the gravity of grief, its waves rising and falling in and through the seasons. Little losses, and your fear of them, will loom. They will stand unknown and unseen by others. Demanding attention but falling dimly into the background. Sometimes the dreams will fade and bodies will fail. Some days fear will fill as futures fall away, further still.
And, you know the holidays will hollow holes inoperable into that holding heart of yours. Every cycle of the sun, every Christmas on the calendar, every empty chair at the Easter table, every birthday with no candles to blow.
But there is this — the truth of the fact that God is with you in your grief, giving space for sorrow, welcoming you as you slowly find your way. He greets you in your grief before going on to glory, to heaven. He waits with you as you grope and groan for words that give language to loss—all those, little and large. He stops and he stoops, lays low, right there with you in the suspension of all things. He blesses you . . . even in your brokenness, even as you beg for kingdom come. For new earth, new world.
I want to be the one to tell you that this is why your losses — all those large and little — matter. Losses are longings that look like God’s heart. They point to the places in us that ache for what has been lost, and they ache when the world isn’t as it should be, could be.
We grieve not only in the absence of these lost things but also in the mere presence of pain. I couldn’t tell you to put that away any more than I could tell the moon to sever its tie with Earth. I can, however, bestow a blessing. Words I’ll leave to lead you as you feel grief, fight grief, fear grief:
One day we will all ascend like Christ into heaven — to that place with no pandemics, no pain, no shootings, no sorrows. No tragedies, no tears, no disease, no death. For now, though, let there be heaven on earth.
Let there be God of heaven over us.
Let there be God of heaven with us.
Your grief isn’t something to get over.
Like paper cuts to the heart, every loss — the loss of friendships, dreams, health, innocence, and everything in between — grieves us more than we think it will, and often more than we let on. But what if it’s time to give language to the loss we’ve lived through? What if it’s time to give voice to the grief we carry?
In her compassionate and deeply personal book, The Matter of Little Losses: Finding Grace to Grieve the Big (and Small) Things, Rachel Marie Kang shines a light on all the things we lose along the way. Through poetry, poignant storytelling, and reflective explorations of art and faith, Rachel guides you to:
- ponder your loss without judgment
- remember what was and make meaning of your memories
- reflect on what is yet to be as you reach for hope.
You don’t have to bury your grief, and you don’t have to pretend you’re over your loss. Let this poetic book be a balm for your brokenness, giving space for sorrow and welcoming you to grieve the things that always mattered — and always will.
Order your copy today . . . and leave a comment below for a chance to WIN a copy*!
Then join Becky Keife this weekend on the (in)courage podcast for a conversation with Rachel. Don’t miss it!
Listen to today’s article at the player below or wherever you stream podcasts.
*Giveaway open until 11:59 pm on 2/4/24 to US addresses only. Winners will be contacted via email.
P.S. In just 7 days, our new (in)courage book, 100 Days of Strength in Any Struggle, will be available!!
God’s tender love and care are on display in countless ways – but so often we miss it because we’re not paying attention. Be inspired to pay closer attention to God’s fingerprints in your life and the strength He is offering you. TEN devotions in our new book are all about PAYING ATTENTION. We know these stories will delight you, surprise you, and tug on your heartstrings. You are stronger than you think because God is closer than you know. Grab your copy now from DaySpring, Amazon, or wherever books are sold.Leave a Comment