I remember when i first read of Haiti’s 3 days of mourning in the aftermath of the carnival tragedy. not only did they cancel the last day of the event, but 3 whole days of mourning?! i wondered what that must look like. businesses closed, schools closed, families gathering together talking about it, openly weeping? i only imagine-not having ever experienced such community grieving. i read of how Israel mourned for 30 days when Moses died. 30 whole days until the days of weeping came to an end. wow. this contrasted against how we do it in the States. we pause for moments. and they are moments of silence. that feels like a slight acknowledgement and then back to work and moving along as ‘normal’. i have felt the shock of that. in the face of deep personal loss, i can recall being perplexed by the moving about of others-folks who know nothing of the loss i’ve experienced-doing normal things like getting groceries and picking up their kids from school. i know in my head; “of course they are, why wouldn’t they be?” while my grieving heart can’t figure out how to make one foot move in front of the other and my grieving mind can not be trusted to work the stove.
our bodies are made to feel. and some feelings need time. life follows death, healing follows brokenness, rivers of joy follow valleys of sorrow.
i learned as a child that pain and grief were not to be felt. count backwards from 10, breathe deep, but by all means, don’t cry.
it takes courage to feel. i come from a family of wimps. i mean no offence by that, we wanted to be strong, it’s just that the understanding of what real strength is got mixed up somewhere along the way. and so i grew up stoic, priding myself on my lack of tears and pretend indifference. but the color of my world grew more and more gray. and my heart shriveled.
Energize the limp hands, strengthen the rubbery knees. Tell fearful souls, “Courage! Take heart! God is here, right here, on his way to put things right And redress all wrongs. He’s on his way! He’ll save you!”
This One who wept and groaned loudly, He did come. and He taught me how to grieve. and through grieving all the losses past, and continuing to grieve losses big and small as they come, color has returned to my world. and my heart has opened…
…and i have come to life.
All photos except for the first one taken by Hannah Lucas
To draw futher in: John 11, 16:20-22; Hebrews 5:7; Ecc 3; Deuteronomy 34