Friday, November 1, 2013

Removing the bandages

It's been 27 months since our son died. The past month was yet another paradigm shift in grief. I believe I finally made the transition from emotional remembering to historical remembering. It was, quite honestly, a brutal and agonizing process. It was a laying down of my loss, an acceptance that this is the way it is. It came a few weeks ago when I allowed myself to scream. With everything in me, I screamed. And with the release of that scream came surrender, the surrender to God's will; to be obedient to live fully the rest of my life here on this earth without my son.

The switch from emotional remembering of our loved ones to historical remembering is much like removing the amputee's bandages. The removal of the bandages reveals that, though the limb remains missing, healing has been attained; enough so that a surety of life is pronounced.

Removing the bandages happens only after significant healing has taken place. Healing takes time, and time to heal means waiting. It requires being under the supervision of the Great Physician. He alone knows when it's time to remove the bandages, and it requires trusting Him to know when that time is right even if we're unsure of it. I've been waiting on and hoping in Him with these words from the Psalms:

 Psalm 62
My soul waits in silence for God only;
From Him is my salvation.
He only is my rock and my salvation,
My stronghold;
My soul, wait in silence for God only,
For my hope is from Him. 
He only is my rock and my salvation,
My stronghold;
On God my salvation and my glory rest;
The rock of my strength, my refuge is in God.
Trust in Him at all times, O people;
Pour out your heart before Him;
God is a refuge for us. 

To come to this place of acceptance doesn't mean that I don't still grieve, but that I am no longer defined by it. Though grief and joy run like parallel train tracks, I know now that there is no moving forward without letting go of the past. (The past being the event of Matt's death.) I cannot stand in the train's engine compartment while holding on to the caboose. It is the choice to either stand in the caboose, looking wistfully at the past, or to stand in the engine car looking with anticipation toward the future. It's not a denial of the past, but a gratefulness for it. It's an appreciation for the journey I've traveled and a settled confidence that I will reach the desired destination in due course. I am accepting the present, finding joy in it and cherishing it while viewing the wound as it is - scarred, but closed and no longer bleeding, yet pulsing with the blood of life.

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