Wednesday, December 24, 2014

on loss and mercy -- even in a season called "merry"

my family is close friends with another family whose
two parents have known my parents for about twenty-five years.

i was raised with the two parents as my god-parents,
and they've always been "aunt" and "uncle."

so many of my childhood memories consist of
their four children who are around the ages of my
brother and i.

while they aren't friends that we speak to every day,
they're the kind of people who share so much history with us
that they're family -- in the good times, and -- most especially -- the bad times.

this past sunday their oldest son died in a tragic accident.
the news came early in the morning, just as my family and i were
boarding a ride at disneyland.

my dad said the words {that our friend was dead} -- but they hit like a wave of shock filled with disbelief. all i could do was reiterate what he had said and slowly climb into the boat.
my dad sat there stunned, as the ride went on, as my mom repeatedly looked back at him with
tears welling in her eyes.

hearing a loved one's horrific news just makes your body go numb and your mind twist with sadness and nostalgia.

it is impossible to find adequate words that describe being in the midst of loss,
and there are few {perhaps also even none} to describe just the surface of
watching someone experience loss -- especially a loved one.

my own first-hand, long-term experience with another person's loss--specifially
with a family whose loss consisted of losing two children--
was so raw and haunting that i will never be able to rid myself of the
emotions of the memories that come with holding a hand and wiping a tear
of someone whose pain is unimaginable.

the loss that began on sunday is not necessarily my loss {in that it affects my every day life}
but it is the loss of someone who is a son, grandson, and brother nonetheless.

it's difficult for me to comprehend how the world works and how god tends this world he created --
these times prove to be especially difficult.

the irony of the situation was that--sitting there with his grieving mother at her kitchen table yesterday--all she could do was pour out praise for god's unfailing mercy even in the most tragic and ambiguous times.

i have been continually blown away by the hardships that befall people in this life,
though i find myself even more in awe of god's love and grace.

i don't know how god plans to use this young man's death,
and i don't know how one even begins to live life in the aftermath of losing a child
{perhaps one never truly begins again} -- but what i do know is that if a
grieving mother can look someone in the eyes and claim to have full faith in god,
then all that she claims god to be must be possible.

it seems cruel to partake in any type of merriment when loved ones are enduring
the most grueling time of their lives.

to all of those who have lost someone, my heart truly breaks for you now -- especially during this time of the year.

i know so little about this life -- though i feel fortunate to know full well that the savior who was born in the manger just two thousand years ago came as the prince of peace.

as all of you begin your christmas day early in the morning, i hope that--in spite of where you find yourselves in life--god brings you the peace and contentment and merriment that your hearts need during this holiday season.

happiest christmas to you all -- and how wonderful it is that our savior came into this world just for us!


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