Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A Precious Providential Gift

Who can ever know or anticipate the ways of God? He is a God who works wonders, and His Providence never ceases to surprise and amaze me! Earlier today I wrote about Beau and letting go of pain and grief in order to live life fully and abundantly. Even in just writing about it, my soul began to feel the relief of letting go. And then we got a text from Eric.

His text was very simple: "It's a boy!"

The joy that has welled up in our hearts is beyond telling. Again and again this year we have seen the Lord redeem our loss and pain, and though this little boy is not a replacement for Beau, he is a beautiful example of the Lord's love for Eric and Kelly and for the rest of us, too. His own little story-short as it is thus far-is also a beautiful example of the Lord's redemption and love. This precious one is a great gift from the Lord and I can't wait to welcome him home!

Letting Go

It's hard to let go of those we love, even when they have gone on to live in heavenly places. But for life and redemption to continue, we must let go and go on ourselves. Does this mean I will forget Beau, or deem him less worthy of my thoughts? Not at all. It means I can let go of the grief and the pain while remaining thankful for Beau's life.

So, as part of loving and letting go, I've planned a couple of little things to do to honor Beau on his birthday and home going. They may seem silly to you, but it works for me! :-) All year I've been saving hotel toiletries, and have three full bags to take to the Ronald McDonald House in memory of Beau and in gratitude to the RMH who comfortably housed us and supplied us with all we needed during our stay there. Then on Beau's home going day I'll head out to the cemetery and release a balloon to help me remember that he has indeed returned to the Father and I am free to let him go. A new day dawns and we hold the former days in our hearts with thanksgiving.

Nancy Guthrie, in her book Hope, writes of her own experiences of letting go:
"There is a tyranny in grief. We realize at some point that we have to figure out how to keep on living, how to incorporate the loss into our lives. We want to feel normal again, to feel joy again. But the energy and emotion of grief keeps us feeling close to the one we love or connected to what we've lost. Letting go of our grief feels like letting go of the one we love, leaving him or her behind and moving on. The very idea of it is unbearable.
I suppose we have a choice. We can hold on to the pain, accepting the misery it brings if it means we won't have to move forward with the emptiness. Or we can release it, process it, talk about it, cry over it, let it wash over us, and then let it wash away with our tears. We can make the painful choice to let it go-not all at once, but a little every day. We begin to find that we have the choice of whether or not we will let ourselves sink to that place of unbearable pain when the flashes or memories and reminders of loss pierce our hearts. And we can begin to make that hard choice. We can begin to let go of our grief so we can grab hold of life and those who are living. But I think the only way we can do that is by telling ourselves the truth-that if we choose to let go of the pain, or at least let it become manageable, it does not mean we love the one we've lost any less. And it doesn't mean that person's life was any less significant or meaningful, or that we will forget.
A couple of Sundays ago, a friend who had recently lost her husband stopped me after church to talk. "I cry at the office, cry all the way home, and then cry all evening," she told me ... while crying. And I cried with her.
"Wasn't your husband worthy of a great sorrow?" I asked her. When you love something or someone, the process of letting go is a painful one that takes some time, and it need not be rushed. Nor should it be avoided altogether. We feel the pain, mourn the loss, shed our tears, and with time we can begin to let go of the grief that has had such a hold on us. Perhaps it's not so much that we let go of our grief, but more that we give our grief permission to lessen its grip on us."

"Do you ever get over this?" I had asked Uncle Victor through tears. "No," he replied in a choked voice, "But you learn to live with it." Key word - live. And so we can indeed love, let go, and live.

Happy Birthday, Beau

In just a few days it will be the one year anniversary of Beau's birth and a few days afterwards, that of his death. We lived. We cried. We sorrowed. But we lived. And in that living we drew closer to God in a way we'd not known before, mining deeper the treasures of his love, redeeming the loss and the pain.

"C.S. Lewis said, "God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world." God uses the physical pain that does not subside, the relational pain that puts us on edge, the emotional pain that brings us to tears, to get our attention and to turn our attention toward him. Is that how God has used pain in your life? Do you find yourself praying more often, thinking more deeply, searching more urgently for the truth? When pain invades the busyness of our routine existence, it insists that we reexamine our assumptions and reevaluate our appetites and affections, doesn't it? Pain often affords us-or imposes on us-time for reflection. If we will accept it, pain can give us the gift of reconnection with God, a fresh intimacy with him, a passionate nearness to him. Pain brings us to our knees. We begin with prayers for our pain to be removed. And as he works in us, our prayers change so that we begin to asks that the pain will be redeemed." (Hope by Nancy Guthrie)

Thank you, Father, for the birthday gifts you have given us through the birth and death of dear Beau, and through the pain and redemption of his loss.