Reflections on Loss and Fear and Pain

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Here lately, I’m sad because my friend’s son died. They had to bury him today. Last night was the visitation and a part of me didn’t want to go. Because how do you look your friends in the eyes, who just lost their son and have anything at all to say? How do you know what to do with their bleeding-out heart?

When I was talking to God about this, He reminded me of the elephants. When an elephant dies, all the other elephants huddle up close together and sort of sway. They just stay there for a while and though it’s hard for us humans to know what to do with unfathomable loss, we can learn a bit from those big gentle creatures. We don’t have to say profound things. Or any deeply spiritual things. We can just say, “I love you.” And “I’m sorry.”  We can just show up and be with the person we love. So, that they won’t be all alone in their grief and so they’ll know there are people around them who care.

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And I’m sad today because I learned about a momma who was injured badly because a bad guy came. On my way to the store, I cried and prayed that God would do a miracle and heal her wounds. I prayed so hard that I got lost for 20 minutes and had to call home for directions.

Then, when I got back, I learned she was gone. And now her boy doesn’t have a momma anymore. And her husband doesn’t have his best friend. And there are some parents out there who don’t have their girl, all because a bad guy didn’t value another human being’s life.

I wonder what God did with those prayers. Is He making something different with them? Things we can’t yet see? I wonder how that family will make any sense of things.

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Standing in line at the check-out today, I asked the cashier what her tattoo on her hand meant. She said it stood for the Illuminati. She talked about fame and money and that the tattoo on her hand was a contradiction to the tattoo on her wrist. The one on her wrist was in the shape of a cross.

If there wasn’t a line behind me, I would have asked her at least ten more things. I wanted to know her story. What happened? Why did she want a tattoo that contradicted the cross? What was going on in her mind behind those brown eyes? Did she feel it, too? The way joy runs here right alongside all the pain. Does she struggle with the tension? That there are things that happen to us that can’t be explained? That send us reeling and disillusion us?

On my way home, I prayed for her too. I can’t get to her heart. But, I believe her Maker hears her honest wonderings and her begging questions and all the crud that she’s been dealt. I believe her Maker is running after her, even now, through all the blessings and all the pain.

While I was driving around, I started to be afraid. What if a bad guy comes? What if I don’t get to see my babies grow up? What if while they’re still little, they lose their momma?

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When I was talking to God about these things, He reminded me that I can choose what I will think. I don’t know what happens next. But, I don’t have to live afraid. I can imagine other things. Beautiful things. Healing things. I can weep with the ones who are weeping and I can laugh with the ones who are rejoicing and I can breathe new air in these lungs and keep looking for the light in things.

Today I’m sad. But, I’m filled.

I get to be a momma. I have a best friend in Brent. These eyes keep seeing glory, enough to make me cry in wonder at least once or twice a day.

So Lord, I praise You. For being the Bread of Life. And my Living Water. For giving grace and peace that defies all logic when things get too dark for us to make any sense of things.

Jesus said, “I am the Bread of Life. The person who aligns with me hungers no more and thirsts no more, ever. I have told you this explicitly because even though you have seen me in action, you don’t really believe me. Every person the Father gives me eventually comes running to me. And once that person is with me, I hold on and don’t let go. I came down from heaven not to follow my own whim but to accomplish the will of the One who sent me. (John 6:35-38) (The Message)

3 Comments

  1. by Julie on November 11, 2015  3:59 pm Reply

    I hear you. And I've been wondering the same things today---because I too know the woman who was killed by the bad guy. And I too had prayed she would live. I love your analogy with the elephants. That helps me today. Thank you.

  2. by Erica Bates on November 11, 2015  4:01 pm Reply

    Maggie- great words......nothing more I can say, but thank you!!

  3. by Monique on November 12, 2015  10:44 pm Reply

    Maggie - your friends' friends are grateful that you could be there for them (in-person), when we could not. Thank you for sitting in the ashes with them, as they deal with layer upon layer of sadness.

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