Friday, July 31, 2015

Look for the helpers

You know those days when you just count the hours until bedtime, until the day is “officially” over? They’re endless, those days. At least they sure seem that way. Yet, the thing to remember, to keep at the forefront of your mind is the truth: every day has just 24hrs. That’s it. Just 24hrs. That was my mantra Wednesday as my husband and I marked four years without our son, Matt’s siblings without their brother. It was a hard day.

We did our best, but honestly, I think we were just gritting our teeth and boring through. We had booked a night at a hotel and the kids enjoyed the pool and water slide. We missed having our usual close family friends along this year, and it pitched a different tone for the day. Though we had a plan, it just felt flat. I wish we had done more. We didn’t do any of Matt’s favorite activities and even neglected to buy his favorite drink, a Mocha Frappe. We didn’t throw eggs.

I wanted desperately to just lie in bed and cry the day away, but I felt obligated to redeem what I could from the day. Yet I failed miserably at appreciating the children in front of me because I ached for the one who wasn’t. While I didn’t lie in bed and weep, I also wasn’t present for the rest of my kids. I was crabby and short-tempered. I wasn’t kind in my speech, and I was far from redeeming anything of value from the day. I sucked at parenting Wednesday. I tried to short-circuit grief and force a façade of joy.

As a result, I learned a valuable lesson. You cannot short-circuit grief. At least, not without some pretty negative consequences. I had refused to go through my grief and, instead, believed I could ignore it. I declined to acknowledge it and, instead, threw up the “if we don’t talk about it, it’ll just go away” sign. Mmmm, hmmm. Worked like a charm. *NOT*  You cannot fake joy because genuine joy results in peace. And let me tell you, I didn’t have peace Wednesday.

But the awesome thing about mistakes is that God’s grace covers them all. God’s grace is abundant and excessive. It is altogether lavish. I stand in today covered in grace. I re-read my blog post from Wednesday and have pondered over Jennifer’s words. The admonishment to “look for the helpers” has fixed itself in my mind. As I scrolled through my Facebook notifications, I was humbled in gratitude, for I know who my helpers are. They are many. They are every individual who took the time to pray for us, to post, or to message a word of comfort. They are those who acknowledged that Wednesday was tough. They are the ones who recognize that our hearts still hurt after four years.

I am incredibly thankful for you people. You are my helpers. You are God’s grace in action. You are the aroma of His love. You are a source of comfort and joy. I thank God for you. I looked for you, and you were there. Thank you. Because of the helpers, I can see redemption. I know that today, too, holds 24hrs. 24hrs. in which we can throw eggs, buy a Mocha Frappe, or talk about Matt. We have today to remember the gift of Matt that we were given. We have today to remember the joy he brought while he was here. And we will endure, as Jesus did, because we, too, have the joy set before us.

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