I’ve been putting this post off for days now, but here goes…
I don’t know about any of you, but I hate saying goodbye.
It seems like every time I turn around, someone else is gone.
In my first post I mentioned how pearls are formed and that
it is the tears of a wound that cause beauty to grow.
Two weeks ago, a sweet friend of mine went to be with Jesus.
Her name is Abbie and her story is both heartbreaking and inspiring.
Abbie was only 15 and yet she touched so many lives through her joy, her passion
and – in the last two years especially – her determination.
Wounds are never fun. Losing someone is always painful.
Below is a poem I wrote in 2008 that I often come back to when the process is painful:
Beyond Measure: thoughts on death and love
It is in the deepest well of pain
and the hardest of emotions
that I find the deepest revelations of God’s love.
It seems that the sweetest songs come out of the darkest hours.
The pain and confusion of death have been my winepress these last few years.
The “why?”s. The regrets.
The “I should have, could have, would have”s plague every moment…
It seems so obvious, so easy,
so simple and yet…
The guilt comes in and tries to steal away the joy.
The love of those I’ve lost is overshadowed by the fear of losing their memory.
The struggle and the confusion mount until finally
I fall on my face and
fall into the lover of my soul.
The true God, the King.
The lover and friend
who is my everything.
His breath is so pure.
His heart and His touch are so sweet.
His tenderness and His love capture the grief.
“Oh God!” I cry out. “I want to speak life! I want to bring life!”
Like a surgeon He carefully removes every stench of decay.
All the grief, all the fear, all the pain.
He scrapes them out with His tools and
in the void that’s left
in the hole of loss
He begins to pour.
He pours out His love.
He pours out His grace.
He pours out His strength.
He pours out His will to overcome.
He pours out His LIFE.
And there He waits.
There He waits for
the confusion to cease
for the fear to run dry and
for the chaos to leave.
There He waits so patiently
and so beautifully
for the tears to begin.
The cleansing wells of water overflowing
and running into His streams of mercy
and His streams of love.
Every one kept in a bottle.
Held for a purpose I do not comprehend.
It’s so hard for me to cry.
In fact I didn’t cry for so long that
often now I long to feel the tears
running down my cheeks.
And when I do
when I feel them
I know it is the Lord.
I know it is His Presence.
I know it is His love.
His love. True love.
His joy, His love, overflow out of my heart.
I love to love Him and
I love to know that those I love here
love Him as well.
I love His Presence, His voice, His touch.
No sting of death or fear of separation could ever separate me from
His perfect love that casts out all fear, pain, rejection and loss.
I love the love of the Lord.
Do you have a revelation of the love of the Lord?
It’s all I live for – His love.
All I strive for is that you too would know His love.
Beyond life or death.
It’s all there for you.
Take hold of it.
Dear Abbie, you were and are loved more than words could ever describe. Your beautiful smile, your love and your joy, your heart and your passion for the Lord, your fight and your determination, will never be forgotten. There is a hole in all of our hearts that is left only to be filled by the love of the Lord. You will always be remembered and you will always be missed. The night you went to be with Jesus I was lying in my bed trying to fall asleep when I saw an angel come down to your bed, take your hand and lead you up to heaven. The indescribable joy and peace on your face filled my heart. I knew in that moment, that as much as you dearly loved your family and friends here, you were in a place so much better than anything you had ever experienced before. The next morning I woke up your dad’s post that it was over. There have been many tears and prayers over the past few years, but I wouldn’t trade the 15 years I knew you for anything. You were truly a treasure and I am blessed that I had the privilege of knowing and loving you. I look forward to seeing you again one day and joining you in that great cloud of witnesses.
Goodbye sweet girl. I love you.
Dear everyone else, don’t take life for granted; we never know how long we have. There is no reason to live in fear, but let’s not become familiar with those around us and forget what a precious gift life is. The only thing you can take with you into eternity is relationship. How are you investing into those relationships today? Your relationship with the Lord, your relationship with your family and your friends – these are the things that matter and have eternal value. Don’t let the “stuff” of life get in the way of loving others. Don’t let the pain of loss or past relationships harden your heart. As C.S. Lewis said: “To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket- safe, dark, motionless, airless–it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.” I have lost over 30 people in the last 10 years and if there is one thing I have learned – other than the faithfulness of the Lord – it is this:
‘Tis better to have loved and have lost than to have never loved at all. (Tennyson)
Be blessed and go love someone today. It’s worth it.