It is hard to be thankful for the pain, even when you knew it was coming.
It is hard to be thankful for pain when you consider all the moments you got to hold you kid and listen to her floating laugh echoing in the halls, which now ring only with the high-pitched, tinny whine that your ears pick up when there is only silence. It’s hard to be thankful for the times your mom cooked you your favorite dinner as you stand in the kitchen, now empty forever, helping load boxes of items you have to do, well, something with. It’s hard to be thankful for the pain as you tell your best friend and confidant, “I finally got rid of his toothbrush today. I guess this makes it real.”
That overwhelming joy that filled you as you baptized your friend, the kindness of that one, steadfast companion, always resolute, who helped you through heartache, the way your heart raced as “the one,” said, “Yes!” when you asked her—the depth of love that drove you to pray in tears for hours when you got the call that your loved one was a car accident, but you couldn’t be there; the shattering of your soul when you were told that you needed to come to the hospital immediately if you were in the area, and the vast abyss that spread out lightlessly before you when you were told, “We’re sorry, we did all we could.” All these things are hints of something else, as shadows hint at the edifices that create them.
Every chime and tinkle, every ringing laugh, every quiet moment in your arms—these are all the sounds of a symphony that is just beginning, of the musicians only testing out their strings and woodwinds. They are the sounds of a beautiful orchestra that is nascent now, and despite how they sound so perfect in your remembrance of them through the loss, are only the quietest murmurs and whispers of the grand play that is warming up in heaven. Every twinkling moment of time spent together, seeming so far and forever gone, is but the faintest hint of the brilliance of the eternity that is sparking off in heaven, which will make all these lost moments now seem as the dimmest star compared to the noonday sun.
As time marches inexorably onward and you wonder if the mark your loved one left on your heart is really indelible, or how you can exist with your child now resting under the ground instead of playing above it, realize this: with every moment that passes, your loved one is not getting farther away, but rather closer, and that God has something truly amazing planned.
“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death will not exist anymore—or mourning, or crying, or pain, for the former things have ceased to exist.”—Revelation 21:4
I love you, and God loves you.