Like many of you, I’ve had a share of grief in my life. Losing family members, friends, pets and people you look up to is an unfortunate consequence of living in a world that is tainted by sin and death.
It can be easy to get into the flow of life as we do our best to exist in what can become a harried chase for whatever we envision is success. Time and time again we seem to find priorities that seem to grow as parasites on our life, choking much of our perception of what really might actually matter to us.
Grief in my life seems to play the part of maximum strength cleanser. Although I’d never wish for the events that bring the pain, sadness and loss, it doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate their longer-term effects. Have you ever had a really good hard cry? Have you ever experienced the utter exhaustion that one of these bouts creates? It seems in my experience, after I’ve stopped and rested, I come away unhindered.
Each shackle that I’ve created for myself seems to lose its hold. What was once pressing, hard and immovable suddenly becomes as nothing. Even in the midst of grief, it seems that I find clarity in life priorities.
Recently I lost my mother-in-law. She was a selfless woman who gave everything, even her mind, to the worry and overwhelming weight of what it means to love your family. Over the years the weight of her grief, her stress for the welfare of others stole her vitality and eventually left her drugged and disconnected. People told of stories of her writing every day to keep her cousin in contact with his family as he fought oversees in America’s wars. Her selfless determined love for her family was evident in each look she ever gave her children, grandchildren and loved ones.
As I sat with my wife and children in the front row of a Baptist church in Oklahoma contemplating my mother-in-law’s casket and the grief weighing down my family, a slice of ringing clarity came over me. At that moment, I wanted desperately for her to know one thing : “Thank you”
Thank you for my wonderful wife whom you brought up to be the very essence of my soul mate. Thank you for teaching her about Jesus. Thank you for taking her to church and introducing her to ideals that would one day shape her into the amazing mother, teacher, wife and woman that she is. Thank you for caring for a weird dreamer who dated your daughter for all the wrong reasons, so that God could reshape our relationship into all that is right with His plan. Thank you for the crazy genetics that allow my daughters to be the greatness that they are. Thank you that I have what amounts to the one of the greatest treasures any man can have in his life. It wouldn’t be possible without you Janna. Thank you.
Grief may never be invited, but it can be appreciated!
Pastor Richard Castillo