That ^^^ was probably our deepest fear when Steve and I decided to attend a Bereaved Parents USA (BPUSA) national conference last month.
In the nearly two years since Mark’s death, we had sought out this kind of gathering just once. We went to a “Compassionate Friends” (the other national organization for parents grieving the loss of a child) chapter meeting in late 2016 or early 2017 where, in all honesty…I was kind of a jerk.
Good and gracious God:
Sometimes it is easy for us to forget that Jesus was a human…that Jesus cried, that he was a child. A gooey, sweaty toddler, a dusty, laughing 7 year old running through the streets, a teen that might have challenged his parents’ wisdom and authority a few times. We know he was drawn to the temple, we know that he did ask questions, probing the rabbis’ understanding of scriptures and of the character of God who mysteriously filled his human frame.
We can rest in that knowledge in this moment; we can take a breath and rest in the knowledge that Jesus, God-Immanuel, God With Us, lived our lives, that he understands all our questions, especially the WHY WHY WHY ones that so often go unanswered or are not answered to our human satisfaction. Help us, God, to lean into your boundless love and compassion…to trust that You are so much bigger and more creative and more at work than we can imagine, that we are still held and never ever left alone even when all seems lost, feels lost.
We pray for our world that seems to shaking, burning and drowning all at once. We pray for the unity of humanity, that our love for our neighbors would grow apace and beyond these tragedies. Help us to dig deep and give sacrificially, in whatever form that takes.
Well over a year ago, when I was in a period of deep doubt about everything I was experiencing that was beyond logical explanation (i.e., I would argue with myself endlessly about whether those were signs or just coincidence, happenstance), my sister said she would “talk to Mark about sending something so radical I would KNOW it was from him, like not just dimes, but mercury dimes.”
This is a very hard post to write because I’m going to touch on a significant regret. But I think it’s worth sharing. Because if you haven’t yet said good-bye in this way to someone you love, one day you will – hopefully at the end of their long life, well-lived.