Sometimes my heart is so full of love that I that it might burst. Then there are the times I look up, shake my fist toward heaven, feeling as if my heart might break and cry, “Enough is enough!” And in this season, there are times when I experience both within a heartbeat.
Last Thursday – Friday, Rod and I made a quick trip to Richmond to take care of some business and to visit our son, daughter-in-law, and two older grandchildren at their home (the first time since January). It was such a pleasant visit. We sat around the table for lunch and dinner, and I simply absorbed the joy of multiple conversations happening all at once. We had an early surprise birthday celebration for our oldest granddaughter, Lily, who will turn 15 on July 23, and delighted at her surprise, and her reaction to the two gifts we delivered. Lily and I made a run to Starbucks, Ross and I played chess, and Rod and I and the grandkids played a few rounds of Blank Slate, a fun and fast-moving game. Hugs and smiles abounded!
Friday morning on our way home, our daughter-in-law Kristie texted, “I love how much closer you live. I am thankful we got to see you both. You always bring brightness and joy to our home.” I replied, “The joy of family trumps the times! Many new and happy memories.”
Less than an hour later, as I was preparing my meditation for the celebration of life of one of our members who died a little over a week ago, we received another text from Kristie, asking for our prayers for the 15-year-old son, the only child, of close family friends, who had accidentally fallen off their roof. He was in critical condition with head trauma and it didn’t look good. By the end of the day, he had died, leaving his parents bereft and all of us shocked and devastated.
When my heart was broken and my mind couldn’t comprehend the tragic losses and pain in our lives, I used scream at God, “Why?” But somehow in the last years, that has changed. Now I cry out to God, “How do you hold all the pain that is in this world, all the brokenness, all the grief?” I can’t begin to understand the rhyme or reason behind the pain around us. I can’t blame God, whom I believe is “compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in love and faithfulness.”
Somehow, the idea that the Compassionate and Gracious God knows us, holds our pain as God’s own, and grieves for and with us, makes a difference, at least to me. Getting to the deepest part of my pain, laying it out, crying it out in its rawest form before God, brings me to a place of consolation. I know that I am not alone. And that is enough.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 says this, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all consolation, who consoles us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to console those who are in any affliction with the consolation with which we ourselves are consoled by God.”
In both broken and bursting hearts, in the fullness of life, God is. Therein is our consolation. ~ Anne