A friend of mine died this week. Another friend just called me, weeping and broken.
One story after another, daily, of death. Emotional, physical, spiritual. It surrounds us. Death surrounds us.
My heart is heavy, as they say. There are tears sitting right behind my eyes which may well-up and fall in a moment. I wish they would. It would ease the pressure in my face.
Love in a broken place seems futile. It is so painful. Death -- any loss -- always makes me wonder why bother. In all likelihood that one you commit to love and dive into will break every word he's made to you in time. Is the pleasure, the joy, the potential good, worth what you will lose?
The actions of our Lord and Maker answer me. He says yes. The one who does only what he pleases, answers to no one, has created a rebellious race -- knowingly. Patiently suffered our mocking and disrespect. Took on our likeness, while faced with more ridicule and hate from us -- little nothings. He died, separate from himself for the first, excruciating time, in torment. He did this though even the ones he has chosen to believe him, deserve none of it -- deserve none of him.
This one thing gives me comfort and reminds me of my make-up -- of who and what I am: he cares. God is so passionate. He weeps. He laughs. He rejoices. He loves. He gets frustrated. And he is pleased. And he makes jokes. And he makes war. And he cares for those he has made -- providing rain for those who love him and those who don't. He does this by his own choosing. He has no obligation on him. It is for pleasure.
He does it because it pleases him. All of it together.
I invariably ask how can this horrible disease please him? Even if the little girl is healed and safe, how could we call her suffering in the meantime good?
We can't. Because it isn't. And we can because he does only what he pleases and nothing occurs outside of his command and authority. And if we could see the full story, we would see the beauty in this heart-wrenching moment.
Right now I rejoice in the pleasure of knowing that in my sadness I resemble my Father, and he is absolutely good.
So, what does this look like practically? Well, I let the children know I am sad when I am. I am careful not to overdo this; I don't want to teach them to dwell on their own emotions -- that is, to dwell on themselves. I've gotten into the habit of just saying a sentence or so -- I am sad because I don't know if Nickie is safe.
We do our normal routines most of the time. Emotions, even painful ones, are normal after all.
We talk about what's going on whenever it is appropriate and to the extent that it is appropriate. I talk with my 10-year-old about white supremacy but wouldn't bring that up with his 6 year old brother, for instance. This has to do with age and maturity, but there are other factors.
They see me seek the Lord. They see me pray, and sometimes they see me fast and pray. This is because they are with me.
I acknowledge when they are sad. I try hard to teach them to distinguish true sadness from their silly drama-tears. In the older two, especially for Charlotte of late, it is a clear difference. And the refrain is it's ok to be sad.
It is ok to be sad. It's like saying it's ok to be.
This post is unedited.