There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
It seems that it has been one of those seasons. I lost my mom a year ago in August and throughout this past year there have been many good byes to both friends and family. Each of these losses has put me on my own path of contemplative and peaceful grief. But I am very aware that is not the case with every loved one we lose. For there are untimely losses we cannot explain that leave scars of grief and pain deep in our souls. Thus I have written the following. I pray it will offer comfort to those who are in different stages of loss, grief and rebuilding their lives.
Isaiah 61 1b-2 says “He has sent me (Isaiah) to bind up the brokenhearted, to comfort all who mourn.”
The Garments of Grief
Death is the ruthless thief that rips away a vibrant spirit at the most unexpected time.
Death is the uninvited visitor that lurks in the corners and leaves with a precious soul in spite of the prayers for healing.
Death is the expected and sometimes welcome guest that escorts a loved one up the golden stairway to their heavenly Savior.
Whether you experience death as the thief, the guest or the uninvited visitor, Death always leaves a wardrobe of grief garments, for all of those who remain behind. Some of those garments include:
Shoes: The shoes of shock provide a deceitful opportunity to run away from the truth of death.
Shawl: The black shawl of sorrow exposes your grief and loss to everyone you know.
Sweatshirt: The hooded sweatshirt of avoidance, covers your head and eyes and allows you to escape from connecting with others and continue on as if nothing has happened.
Coat: The heavy, weighted coat appears normal, but everywhere you go, you carry the invisible burden of loss.
Cape: The dark cape of security enfolds you in its arms of comfort and is able to absorb each tear you cry.
Sweater: The scratchy wool sweater of despair, makes every task difficult, yet there is no easy way to remove it in exchange for another garment.
Mask: The mask of cheer conceals your anger, loneliness and tears from the world, and pretends that everything is okay.
Suit: The suit of acceptance, hides in the back corner, you look at it now and then, but each time you try it on, it doesn’t fit quite right, yet.
Quilt: The quilt of memories offers a refuge for you in the lonely times and sometimes lulling you back to sleep on those mornings it is hard to move.
Robe: The healing robe provides the security that your loved one is in a better place and out of pain.
Watch: The wristwatch of time marks celebrations and memories as a constant reminder of the permanency of the loss of your loved one.
Each garment is neatly stored in the wardrobe that Death leaves. It is normal for us to wear any one of these garments throughout our grief process.
Some garments we choose to wear, other times the garment chooses us.
Some garments lose their usefulness early and are thrown out right away, but others linger in the corners and we are caught by surprise when they appear.
The one garment that Jesus offers to us every morning is the garment of faith. The garment of faith is a promise of heaven’s gift of reunion for all those who believe in Jesus Christ. (MMA2013)
As Isaiah the prophet shared;
Isaiah 61:3 (The Lord wants to) “provide for those who grieve in Zion, to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.”
Where ever you are in your journey of grief, I pray you find the garment of praise only offered to us through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Dear Lord, As I rise each morning and go to bed each night, help me to seek your strength, your comfort and your wisdom, as I travel through this season of grief. I thank you for my loved one’s life, their gifts, their faith and their legacy. Help me to put on your garment of praise, instead of wearing a spirit of despair. Amen