Tag: Grief

Dear America

Dear America,

Up until the early hours of Wednesday morning, I thought I was going to address this letter to Madam President.

Oh, from what lofty heights we fall.

I don’t know what to say, my friends. And yet, I don’t know how to stay silent. The words spill from the overflow of my heart.

Fear. That is the word I hear being repeated over and over today, as we transition to a new presidency. People have come into work crying. Some are questioning whether the things that define them have now made it unsafe to live in this country.

And it seems that a good chunk of the Christian community is a little too quick to brush off such sentiment with hurried reassurances that as long as God sits on His throne, we have nothing to fear.

This is true. He is still King and He is still Lord of my broken heart.

But, America.

Jesus wept.

Now Jesus had not yet come into the village, but was still in the place where Martha met Him. Then the Jews who were with her in the house, and consoling her, when they saw that Mary got up quickly and went out, they followed her, supposing that she was going to the tomb to weep there. Therefore, when Mary came where Jesus was, she saw Him, and fell at His feet, saying to Him, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.” When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, He was deeply moved in spirit and was troubled, and said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to Him, “Lord, come and see.” Jesus wept.

John 11: 30-35 (NASB)

As a witness to the unspeakable grief of friends and family, Jesus wept. Jesus wept despite knowing, more certainly than anyone else ever has, that this story, that no story, ends in death. So perhaps grief and fear are not one and the same but ultimately, the tears of Christ remind me that we are entitled to sadness.

Remember that, America. It’s okay to be sad. We can take a moment to mourn the future we had planned and process the reality of the present.

And because He is our perfect example, we can turn to Jesus to show us what to do in the midst of our tears.

So they removed the stone. Then Jesus raised His eyes, and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me.”

John 11: 41 (NASB)

I wonder if I’ve been staring at this glass ceiling for so long that I have neglected to look heavenward. Maybe we all have. But if we look to the Lord in prayer, we can say with full confidence that He hears us.

America. Land that I love. God hears us.

And since He hears us, we can go forth and do. Because after Jesus prays, He calls Lazarus from the dead.

Death is not the end of our story.

I do not pretend to have the wisdom to know what will heal the divisive wounds left on this nation but I remember what Scripture tells us: There is no fear in love.

Some of us wonder what exactly people are so scared of today. And of course, much of it centers on policies and promises and potential reforms. But as I watched the numbers pour in last night, the thing I was most afraid of was an environment of hatred. A pervasive and debilitating allowance for intolerance.

But love is a choice, America. And no matter who is in office, we can choose to love.

They say love is blind but I don’t know if that’s true. I think love sees full well the faults and flaws of its beloved. But it chooses to love anyway.

Which is why I think we’re called to love our neighbors, America, even if we don’t agree with them. Our neighbors of color who are afraid of having years of progress erased. Our Muslim neighbors who maybe thought twice before donning a hijab today. Our LGBT neighbors who don’t know if there is enough grace left in this country for them. Our neighbors across party lines. Our neighbors who hate us and what we stand for.

Oh yes, America, even them. It is perhaps the hardest choice we will have to make but if Jesus chose love on the cross for us while we were yet sinners, I think we need to do the same.

And maybe this is too much to include in an open letter to the United States but to the daughters I hope to one day mother. My precious girls. In this life you will see unthinkable evil and experience grave injustice. Fight against it. Stand in the gap with the unwavering conviction that you are dearly loved and uniquely capable. And while I pray that I will be someone you can look to in uncertain times, I know the better bet is Jesus. Fix your gaze on the one who sits at the right hand of your Father in Heaven.

Because there are no ceilings in the kingdom of heaven, my dears.

There are people who want to leave you, America. I will not. I pledge my allegiance to this flag.

But it is God in whom I trust.

God bless you, America.

Love always,

Me

Six

Six years.

Six years ago today, a dear presence in my life left this world. Six years and I still get a lump in my throat when I date my page February 1st. Oh, friends. So many of us know what it means to feel a terrible, terrible loss.

Loss.

Is that the right word?

I think sometimes I say things without really deciding if that is what I mean. Or what I believe.

For some reason, when someone dies, we say we “lost” them. And to me, that doesn’t make much sense because “lost” implies we don’t know where they have gone. But I believe in an eternity after this breath we call life. I don’t know for sure what it looks like but I know Jesus is there and He’s so psyched to spend forever with us.

I think about Heaven a lot these days. (No, I don’t have any plans to rush up there. But I mean, you never know. Best to be prepared, I’d say.) Some people think it’s going to be all of us wearing white robes and singing the Hallelujah chorus. All. The. Time.

I think not, friends.

I think Heaven will be about us loving on God and Him loving on us, which I also think acts as a definition of worship. I think it’ll be full of the very best parts of this life and more because Daddy God knows each of our hearts so intimately. He knows what makes us smile and laugh and I think He’ll want to enjoy it all with us.

So I imagine there will be puppies and kittens and bubble wrap in Heaven. Probably a never ending chocolate fountain for us sweets lovers to feast on without fear of tooth decay or diabetes. The smell of old books and clean laundry. Crunchy autumn leaves to step on.

And my dear one who is already there? I like to think he is singing with the angels and reminding them of the lyrics in case anyone forgets because he always seemed to know every line of every song.

I still have a lump in my throat. I still feel sad but I don’t think it’s because of “loss.” I’m just sad we can’t see each other right now. And the sadness doesn’t cancel out the hope I have that one day, we will be reunited and it will be beyond anything I could ever imagine.

In the meantime, I’ll hold on to the memories. Memories of going to the first Harry Potter movie and of celebrating birthdays. Of sharing meals and getting fried chicken from the Chinese place. Of growing up with a daughter of yours who is the sweetest friend.

I think of you every time I sing of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

 

Rest in peace.