The past several weeks have been a time of quiet processing for me, a pouring out of my heart to God in prayer.
“…when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place…” Matthew 6:6 (NKJV)
You see, I’ve lost four family members in just nine months (my grandfather, my grandmother, my aunt, and my cousin). And, while I grieve these earthly losses, my heart also deeply aches for my extended family members who have lost more than I: some have lost a spouse, a brother, a sister, both parents, a child.
Yet, through the sorrow, I’ve also seen so much beauty. Friends and church families have provided free child care, cooked meals, cleaned homes, helped with projects that couldn’t be put off, and they served with so much humble gentleness that it helped to make the burdens easier to bear.
Family also spent more time together than usual, with many relatives taking off work and staying for several days at a time. Lingering, being comforted just by being close, and not needing words to express sorrow helped so much.
Watching my brothers and my male cousins lift caskets together were sad moments, but wow, what an honor to be asked to carry someone for the last time. Along with grief during those times, my heart was filled with love and pride as I witnessed the strength in my brothers and cousins to be able to carry out such a difficult task with so much quiet dignity.
Through this, lives have been forever changed. My relatives and I are all more aware that each breath is a precious gift. Many people’s day-to-day lives have been drastically altered. Holiday gatherings will never be quite the same. Gathering with family now, knowing that some of those missing will never be back, is a difficult concept to wrap my mind around.
Yet, though it will be difficult, I still plan to gather. To be with the ones who are still living on earth. To love, to laugh, to cry, to comfort, and to linger. Family is so precious.
And I know that through it all, God is faithful, He is good, and He is Victorious.
51 Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed— 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed… 54 So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” 1 Corinthians 15:51, 22, 54 (NKJV, emphasis mine)
I am so thankful to have another reunion to look forward to, one more glorious and joyous than I can even imagine. A reunion where sickness cannot encompass and death cannot prevail. Until then, I’ll strive to make the most of the moments I’ve been blessed with on earth, to linger more, to be ever-grateful for the gift of time, and to do my best to pass on a legacy of faith, love, and family the way my own grandparents passed that legacy down to me.