The daily tasks of life have been reinstated, but with changed perspective. The things that once gave me cause for anxiety, no longer give me pause for concern. It is a curious outlook. For instance, Mr. Monkey currently has the chicken pox. What began as a few strange spots on his neck last Friday developed into a full blown case of the pox. Four months ago, this would have freaked me out. Now it was merely a light blip on the radar screen. I am sure, as with the way of grief, that these things will change as time goes on. But for now, it is almost like an out-of-body experience.
Earlier, I worked on the GriefShare homework for this week. It was very sobering and convicting. It was stated "Your life is about more than your losses." There was a warning that "If grief becomes your identity, it will hurt you." I was convicted that I have, indeed, been tempted these past few weeks to do just that. The death of my child is inexplicable, but I was reminded of the truth. I can focus on "Why?" or I can focus on what I know to be true. Especially what I know to be true of God.
I was given the book Streams in the Desert. What a blessing and a comfort. The daily readings and poems are short, but powerful. Each day's reading is a balm to my soul, though I don't always like what I read. Who volunteers for suffering? Who looks forward to walking a seemingly impassable road? Who would willingly choose the path of sorrow in order to grow in their faith? But I know in whom I have believed. (2 Tim. 1:12) "Christ Jesus...who for the joy set before him endured the cross..."(Hebrews 12:2)
"When the frosts are in the valley,
And the mountain tops are grey,
And the choicest buds are blighted,
And the blossoms die away,
A loving Father whispers,
"This cometh from my hand";
Blessed are ye if ye trust
Where ye cannot understand."
(excerpt from Oct. 23 reading - Streams in the Desert)
It is a good thing I can not see the future, for I know I would have surely denied the trial. I would have refused to walk this path. But the amazing thing is that I do not walk alone, and I do not walk on my own. He gives me His strength, His courage, and the company of His presence. Today's reading from Streams in the Desert says, "The chiefest values in life and character are not blown across our way by vagrant winds. Great souls have great sorrows." And from Oct. 27th's reading: "Out of the buffeting of a serious conflict we are expected to grow strong. The tree that grows where tempests toss its boughs and bend its trunk often almost to breaking, is often more firmly rooted than the tree which grows in the sequestered valley where no storm ever brings stress or strain. The same is true of life. The grandest character is grown in hardship."
These are not easy things to accept. In all honesty, I was comfortable where I was and happy to maintain the status quo. But at least if I am to travel this way, I am comforted in knowing that there is a Shepherd who leads the way. He has walked the path before me and knows what lies ahead. There is a purpose and a plan, even if I don't ever see it, much less understand it. I am glad to know that it is not in vain. The apostle Paul knew what it was like to suffer for Christ, to lose all that he had. Paul says, "But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ." (Phil.3:7) I honestly can't say I count the loss of my son as "rubbish so that I may gain Christ" (vs.8) but I can say as Job, "Though He slay me, I will hope in Him.."