There are many reasons I love being married to a preacher man but one of the privileges of that role is being present by (what I hope is not a begrudged) default during the hallowed days in the lives of people we love. We relive our own wedding vicariously through yours wishing we had been believers when we had married. We rejoice again each time you bring a new life into this world both by birth and baptism. When you say goodbye to your loved ones, we grieve with you and do our best to minister out of our own experiences of loss.
During a short 2 hour span Monday, the Lord allowed me to both hold Deedra’s precious baby Walker for the first time and laugh at his adorable big brother and sister as they showed off ‘their baby’. Straightaway, I went to hold my sweet friend Jenni and cry with her shortly before Randall went to be with the Lord. Later that afternoon I sat on my bed staring into nothingness as I thought about how far the pendulum swings. About the great expanse between life and death; the enormous arc between joy and sorrow.
The amazing thing about a pendulum is how very close one comes to making a full circle not unlike The Flying Dutchman at an amusement park. If one extreme is sorrow and the other joy, then at the top of that arc the two are practically in kissing distance. And there lies – or flies – paradox. It’s in that terrifying limbo that we find unexplainable peace. Where in our loss we are found. When we are convinced yet again that God was holding us all along even when it felt He had left us hanging midair.
I personally despise the Flying Dutchman. Every time I’ve ever been on one I’m convinced that I’m that one person for whom gravity will fail and I’ll go crashing to the ground. And yet, here I sit on sure ground proven wrong time after time. In the words of Mr. Hopeful in The Pilgrim’s Progress, “Be of good cheer, my brother, for I feel the bottom, and it is sound.”
Are there any out there who feel the bottom has fallen out? It would be hypocritical for me to assure you that you are held if I hadn’t experienced being caught midair so many times. No, I’ve not lost my husband or grown child, but there are other devastations that have pushed us to the brink of faith. That being the case I can confidently say, you will get through this. There will be a day when you are going about the course of things when you stop and realize the pain of this day is not prevailing as it did the day before. I daresay you will even smile again. There are many things I do not know, but this I do: Now matter how scary the How, I can rest knowing I am safe in the Who. The same one who called Peter to the Waves and Moses to the Sea has not chosen this day to forsake His children.
Sweet Jenni and girls: I pray when you are desperate to see Christ, that you will only need look around to see Him in the faces of those who love you. That you will be bold in your fear. That you will find some unexpected joy in the midst of this sorrow. That you will remember your husband and father with a smile through your tears.
That is the divine paradox and it is there you will find Him waiting.