It's all there: the pictures, the smiles, the memories, the horses, the kids . . . all except for Trent. It was one of those unbelievably gorgeous February days when, in the midst of paperwork and home school, I declared a fun day. Just like we used to do: pack up a picnic, the kids, and the horses and head out back. Even if everybody fought and the horses were ornery we were still together.
After my announcement I began procrastinating: we need to feed the chicks, does Micah have socks, change out of your nice pants, what kind of sandwiches should we bring, I have to put on some make-up, mascara, eye-liner, pick a pair of shoes . . .
I just don't want to do it; I don't know how to do it. When does the ache stop?
I beg for grace, and yet more grace . . . more and more and more. I think of eternity, when death will be no more. "Why not just start it today, God?" I ask Him; just start it today.
The grace trickles in. I have to go; I have to smile; I have to live. I remember that God is sovereign and Trent is in heaven after all: I know, I know. I just want to go have another picnic with him; I just want to hear him laugh again, and see him ride the short horses, and talk with him and see him play with his brothers. I don't know how to dream anymore. The perfect spot for the cabin doesn't seem so perfect anymore.
But God's grace is ultimatley sufficient, so I ride the horse, I eat the tuna wrap, I live for my kids.
The camera batteries were exhausted mid-picnic, so I couldn't hide anymore. I was forced to participate: to explore the woods looking for old bee-hives, laughing with my kids, playing games, really riding my horse, looking at the trees and the trail and the flying pheasant and the two girls ahead of me instead of looking for the perfect shot.
And I felt it, next to the ache and the pain, I felt the glimmer of joy rising.
Grief seems to force you to choose between emotions. Pain often rules and joy seems impossible because your loved one is gone. But does it have to be impossible? Is God not enough for joy in grief? For trusting His plans while you live the day's He still has you here?
This afternoon I stumbled across Isaiah 29:13 (NASB): Then the Lord said, " . . . [these] people draw near with their words and honor Me with their lip service, but they remove their hearts far from Me, and their reverence for Me consists of tradition learned by rote ..."
The words cut deep: lip service, rote tradition, heart far removed. I don't want my life to be lip service to God. I long to know Him and trust Him with my very being.
I read once about a mother who expressed that God graciously revealed to her through her grief that her greatest desire was really her child, not Jesus. Such a fine line. One that we think we have a right to as mothers: to place our children above everything else, even God. I long to let God be God, and to be so satisfied in Him and His plans that my life reveals it fully; to be so consumed with Him that the things of this life are meaningless.
Maybe that's the real pain: what I thought was reality in this world has been lost along with my son. Somehow I have to learn how to live here the rest of my days until I get to heaven, not being of this world but in this world. I will continue to listen for that trumpet, and as I wait I'll dance before my King (Phil 3:20; John 17:14-15; 1 Cor 15:51-52; 2 Samuel 6:16).