A privilege to grieve.
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“Surely He took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows…”
There is an empty chair in the house.
Dad called it his “easy chair”. “Well, its about time to go to my easy chair, “ he would say. It was Dad’s resting place and the center of the house. If someone came to the house, I would usher him or her in to my Dad, in his chair. When there was any kind of gathering we would huddle in the living room around Dad’s chair. From that chair he watched Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune and pondered life and dispensed wisdom. In that chair he grieved the loss of Mom and thought of the past.
And now the chair is empty.
Living with Dad for three years, sometimes I have a hard time believing he is gone. But every time I come into the living room and see his empty chair, I am jolted back to the reality of his passing. No more fireside talks, no more telling of the old stories, no more discussing happenings at church or in the family or in the neighborhood. The chair is empty, Dad is gone, and I grieve.
I grieve the loss of his wisdom and I grieve the loss of his friendship. I grieve the loss of both my parents and I feel myself an orphan, bereft of their comfort and stability. The emptiness gnaws at me sometimes and hurts like an internal wound and other times it is just a lingering reality, like a snatch of a familiar song playing somewhere in the background of my life.
As I write this devotion, I want to emphasize something that I can easily forget. It is a privilege to grieve the loss of my Dad and Mom.
It is a privilege to grieve their deaths, because it means that the deeper I feel the grief, the more I am reminded how much they loved me. If they had not loved me so, I would not feel the pain as much as I do. If there had not been such substance of caring, there would be so little substance of loss.
I am glad to feel the pain, for it means there was love. I am joyful to experience the loss, for it means there was so much gained.
Perhaps this is a bit like Jesus’ experience on the cross. He took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows. He experienced the forsakenness and sorrow that should have been ours. He endured the cross for the joy set before Him. He considered the suffering a privilege in view of the salvation He was winning for you and me.
I would not say that I enjoy the grief and suffering of losing my parents. But it is a privilege to grieve the goodness and joy and love in that relationship.
Dear Lord Jesus, thank you for taking on my sin and sorrow. Thank you for experiencing the deep grief and forsakenness of the cross, that I might have eternal life with You and the Father. May all the griefs and sorrows of my life somehow draw me closer to You and to Your sacrifice and mercy. Amen.
Picture and Text Copyright Steve Nickodemus