Monday, February 25, 2008

Pain Outweighs Gratitude

The following is a lament by Nicholas Wolterstorff from his book Lament For A Son. His son died in a climbing accident when he was 24 years old.

"We took (them) too much for granted. Perhaps we all take each other too much for granted. The routines of life distract us; our own pursuits make us oblivious; our anxieties and sorrows, unmindful. The beauties of the familiar go unremarked. We do not treasure each other enough.

(They were gifts) to us. When the gift was finally snatched away, I realized how great it was. Then I could not tell (them). An outpouring of letters arrived, many expressing appreciation for (Midi and Nathan). They all made me weep again: each word of praise a stab of loss.

How can I be thankful, in (their) gone-ness, for what (they were)? I find I am. But the pain of the no more outweighs the gratitude of the once was. Will it always be so?

I didn't know how much I loved (them) until (they were) gone.

Is love like that?"

My pain has intensified the past couple of weeks. Maybe the fact that they are gone is starting to sink in deeper - into parts of my being that have never been touched. Maybe it's because my "to do" list has shrunk and I find myself with time to grieve and soak in my pain. I think it is possible that I've cried more in the past two months than my entire life combined. My mother did tell me that I was an easy baby and did not cry much. The initial burst of peace from the Holy Spirit that I felt so powerfully in the first couple of weeks has faded. Yet I still believe that God is with me. I believe in the Christian God because He is the only god who knows of my suffering. He is the only god who chose suffering and experienced humanity. He is the only God who defeated death. And He is the only god who made the audacious promise that if we put our faith in Him, following him in our lives, that His victory over death is our victory over death as well. Other faiths promise reincarnation, or a complete emptying of self, or some spiritual "oneness" with the life force, or something vague and meaningless like that. Those ideas are completely unappealing to me and they ring false. I believe in Jesus, the God who would be man; the only one to conquer death through resurrection. Besides, after I die, I want to be me, not some absorbed piece of oneness. I want to be who I am supposed to be, without the curse of sin. I want to see Midi and Nathan again in the New Earth where I don't have to fear death, mine or theirs. If there is just emptiness, reincarnation, or oneness then they are truly gone forever. I just don't believe that to be the case.


Anonymous said...

Dear Mark,

I have been catching up on your blog today. Thanks for opening your heart to us and for trusting us with it. I continue to pray for you and Lucas. May Jesus, whom you love and follow, who understands the intensity of pain of loss and separation which I hear in his cries, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me," walk with and carry you in your grieving times. You are in my heart as well.


Anonymous said...

As I read your words this morning, the prayer that rose up in my heart was that as you enter more deeply to your grief, you will find that God is already there to meet and comfort you.