I was talking with my 92-year-old precious neighbor about her life and how she is holding up in her older years… a conversation that continues through our days living close by as she roams over to my back yard randomly reaching out for contact and pleasantries. She’s a beautiful adoring woman, and I am blessed to spend moments with her that inspire me and evoke an emotion so deep about life and living it.
Yesterday, she wandered over again. We talked. I offered to take her grocery shopping again… she said maybe, like she always does with a tear in her eye ever since she finally succumbed to not being able to drive. This was so hard for her. I remember so vividly hugging her while she cried in my back doorstep sharing the news. I told her any time she needed to “get out” to call… and she finally did. I remind her every time I see her that I am always available to help. She is always amazed at my generosity- and I am always baffled at why. It’s not difficult to “Go and do” with her. She and her husband have lived in their home for years, caring for their immaculate lawn and landscape and taking walks around the block. Truly an amazing story of love and life through the ages.
At 92 years old, the woman is a marvel… walking and talking and always dressed and groomed better than I. (Not hard to do, but for 92?!) This woman is always such an amazing testimony to living the journey of life and love and loss…
Every time my dear friend talks with me, she shares about the child she lost. She has five children… all grown except for one she lost many years ago. I never quite understood what happened; as her words are often a bit convoluted and the details of her stories are murky at best. But she always shares this devastating news over and over again, as though it was the first time she told me. And every time she does, it once again penetrates my heart so deeply at the realization that this precious woman still bears the burden and pain of this trauma, as though it were yesterday. She sometimes can’t remember the names of her children, the ages, or even what day it is. But she clearly remembers the day her life changed forever.
I think about my friends who have lost a child. I think about my friends who have lost a parent. I think about all the victims of Oklahoma’s tornado, the Boston Marathon, and Sandy Hook… all the way back to Columbine. I think of the souls lost in wars and poverty across this great land of ours…and further beyond the seas. I think of everyone that suffers such pain and grief.
And I sit here, my heart so heavy, and filled with such sorrow realizing that grief and loss are forever embedded on humanity’s hearts… lives…struck with an earthly pain that endlessly swallows days, memories, and forever remembering a life that once was.
Although I am not a biblical scholar, I am aware of endless scripture that prevails with devastation, anguish, pain, loss, and also redemption, hope and eternal life in Heaven… all of which imply that God is fully aware of this human condition. For He Himself chose to suffer the same loss of His Beloved Son, in the most excruciating way known to man. And in so doing… gave us new life in Him.
And even His own Son, the One Beloved Holy Savior loved and lost, mourned and cried.
Every single time I hear of a tragic loss…
I am reminded of the simple and powerful verse that speaks the heart of all. After hearing the news that his beloved friend Lazarus had died, the Son of God showed His Humanity.
New International Version (NIV)
35 Jesus wept.
It’s short but oh so sweet… so sweet.
And with loss, my dear 92 year-old friend showed me that it will always be embedded in our fragile hearts for our entire lives… aching, mourning, weeping, and remembering.
And oh how I pray that all will find comfort in knowing we have a loving and compassionate God who weeps with us.
He cries too…
My prayers are with all who have suffered a loss on this Memorial Holiday. May you feel His Embrace, and His Tears~