I was drawn into a recent post by the daughter of a dear friend, as the young woman tried to understand prayer after losing someone important in her life:
“I prayed for God to heal him. He did, it was just not the way I wanted him to. I was so mad and frustrated, because I was praying and begging God. But it was his time and he IS healed eternally. For the longest time I wouldn’t pray for God to heal someone because (I prayed different words) I was so scared that he would take that person too. Then I started thinking, am I being selfish by not praying and not wanting them to be healed. I know being healed and going to heaven is a lot better then being healed and stuck on this earth.”
Her words are so wise beyond her years … and I tried to imagine myself ever being that insightful at her age. Nah. I was writing my heart out at that period of my life but nothing like that.
Maybe because it was a different time … or I didn’t have then the strong core and extended family bonds she has … or the powerful faith that guides her … or God simply made us different.
But she made me think today at a much deeper level. Dang, I hate when words start pouring out faster than my fingers can keep up!
It’s comprehending that loss is never easy and how it’s so tempting to get caught up in how WE think it should have turned out and are devastated when it doesn’t. It’s in those moments we feel like we’ve “failed” our mission in prayer because OUR prayers were not answered according to OUR plan.
Yes, God is sooooo much wiser than we are. Always has been … always will be. Somebody has to be! It made me contemplate how I’ve reacted to great loss, especially in the last decade with the passing of my parents within 19 months of each other … and an increasing number of friends and family from all corners of my life.
In these moments of reflection, I better understand that the person who has left me in the physical world taught me far greater emotional and spiritual lessons that I simply couldn’t absorb at the time of their passing. Alas, we are human, and experiencing profound grief clouds our vision at the onset … and our ability to think and move and even breathe. This is why we stumble, why we lose ourselves, why we need to let healing arms and words gently embrace us even we resist them.
The process of “going on” provokes the tears over a long time that rinse our human eyes to see the “bigger picture” … providing a better understanding of how this person influenced our life in ways we didn’t fully comprehend when we held them in our arms.
We’ll always miss them … but we learn more every day how their life blessed ours. I think that is how our spirit evolves and grows … the connections we make on earth and what we do with those relationships. God did not create us to be alone. He gave us the power of love, which rises above everything … and brings us closer to Him at the same time … which is where we need to be.
This made me think more about moments with Mom and Dad and others I’ve lost. The memories of love and joy of their lives woven within ours lasts so much longer than the pain … when we permit ourselves to accept that great truth that points us down the path of healing. It’s part of our human makeup.
God gave us the gift of memory … which we humans often use selectively at times. Hint hint hint …
Imagine the mother who chooses to remember only the pain of childbirth and forgets the joy of that new life in her arms. We’d be a world of one child families. Pain fades. Love hangs around a lot longer because it’s stronger than pain. Love can be forever … if we so choose …
That’s why I love this photo of Mom and me preparing a meal together in her apartment where I lived much of the 10 months after her diagnosis of terminal lung cancer. I still need this when I slip into moments of human anger, wanting to scream at her for bringing death far too soon from six decades of smoking.
For the moments I felt hopeless and helpless … and wondering what I should pray for … And they proved to be the same I prayed for Dad when he was brain-dead after a massive stroke. I was “realistic” after both. I prayed only for peace and the glorious life they would discover in heaven and to be reunited with their loved ones … and apologize to each other for the bad times on earth.
And not-so-selfish prayers for myself. The strength to go on … the courage to better understand myself … and the inspiration to live a better life because I have the unlimited power to do so. God told me so … because I’m still here.
And laughing every time I don’t organize or clean things the same way my parents did. I have to keep them entertained somehow … because it’s so healing all the way around …
Hey, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment below. I’d love to speak to your group, organization or company about working our way through the pain and challenges of everyday life. You want straight talk? You got me!