innocently as he read something I wrote several years ago. He was just speaking
the truth as he saw it. I could not help but wonder, how had I gotten
here? Then these words popped up from the past: "The most beautiful
people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering,
known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths.
These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of
life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving
concern. Beautiful people don't just happen." - Elizabeth Kubler Ros.
Someone shared those words with me a number of years ago saying they
reminded her of me which was clearly, very gracious. Several years later,
with the words of my son ringing in my ears and those words before me, I
am at a loss. There is nothing beautiful, gentle, or sensitive here - not
lately, not in me.
Where's the joy?
Where's the beauty that loss grows in a person?
I know the ugliness of this heart. I know the harsh words or tones I have
used with my family. I know the struggle for contentment and joy with no
good reason for struggle. At one time, I knew every time I looked into
the face of one of my children it was a gift! We never know how long we
have with anyone we love. I knew that what God gave, even loss, could be
embraced and thankfulness found. Now, years down the road in this journey
of life, I wonder where I have steered wrong. Why do those lessons learned
through pain and valleys seem so out of my grasp?
What happens when you are on the eve of your son's birthday, the one who
is no longer with you, and you seem to have forgotten all the lessons his
life and loss taught you? What happens when you feel you have tarnished
his memory in the eyes of your children for your lack of joy and love in
life - and you just feel weary?
I will be honest. I don't know all the answers to those questions right
now. I do know where I am going to start though.
“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bringit to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”
Philippians 1:6He isn't finished with me. He won't give up on me. He will complete what
He has started and not leave me in the messy state I'm in.
“Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yetappeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because
we shall see him as he is.”
1 John 3:2
I have a part to play in it as well. I must remind myself constantly
throughout my days that I am to be a living sacrifice. I am not living
this life for me, but in worship to the One who made me and gave His life
“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present
your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is
your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be
transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern
what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
Daily I need to renew my mind by filling it with the truth of God's Word
because it is through those words I will be reminded who God is, why I'm
here, and what I am to be doing.
I am going to celebrate my son's birthday by taking a family
holiday like we do every year. I am going to look for joy in the little
moments, pray for my words to filled with kindness, and seek to see what
God is doing through the experiences of the day. I will fail to do all of
that perfectly, and I will fail the next day, and the next. However, I
know there is grace for that.
And my prayer will be:
“God, create a clean heart for me and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Restore the joy of Your salvation to me, and give me a willing spirit.”
Psalms 51:10, 12
And He will, because when I am faithless, when I forget what I've been
taught, when I fail, when I struggle, when there is no beauty to be found
from past lessons learned in loss, HE is beautiful and HE remains
faithful. (2 Timothy 2:15)