It seems like many days have passed instead of only the few since Wednesday morning when the call came that Erick’s dad had died after nine long years of pitiful suffering. We have struggled with so many difficult thoughts, feelings, and memories as we’ve sought to guide our minds to the happier ones, no less real but what seems too few when facing the finality of death. The grief process always causes me to review earlier losses over which pain continues to linger, forever ready to be reawakened when the stillness of days like these come again.
Relationships, family relationships in particular, have profound impact on us all. We are literally conceived through relationship, sustained through relationship, nurtured and grown. Then all of us in time become wounded too from the very same source.
As children, we see parents as “grown”. We think they have reached a place we only learn later, after becoming adults ourselves, does not exist. No one other than The Lord above knows all. No one other than our Savior lived perfectly. Many of us don’t realize until brought face to face with our own failings as adults that we all are in great need of forgiveness.
Love…these wonderings bring me to what matters most. Relationships are sustained when love is backed up with commitment, when we recognize that love is a choice and requires unwavering devotion. Genuine love is not contingent on behaviors of others. Love, as scripture tells us, keeps no record of wrong, is not self-seeking, does not harm, is kind and easily entreated.
Of all things I could ever hope to be remembered for by those I hold most dear and even by those who pass me briefly on this busy avenue of life, I long to be remembered for love. Just this afternoon I was speaking to a friend and sharing how precious are the relationships I have over which there is no need of worry about falling into conflict or strife; those people who have loving, forgiving hearts, who love unsparingly at all times. What a gift and a blessing to be held in bonds of unfailing love. Mature love, Christian love, is patterned after The One who demonstrated love in the most amazing and boundless way of all, where love of self was denied in favor of love and devotion to His Heavenly Father and to those who would come and follow after Him. How precious…
Times like these when loss is so very personal and real reinforces my understanding of the precious nature of relationship. Watching Erick suffer as he said good-bye to his dad, a dad he never felt he had enough time to share because of divorce, because of distance, because of differences, because of busyness, because of so much that has never been named, has broken my heart deeply and caused a sadness and sorrow that is unique and new. The love my dear husband has for the man he called “Dad” is no less than the love shared by those who always lived close and shared the hours that were lost to him. Love is bigger than time and space. It is bigger than our hurts and disappointments, and it lives on in tender hearts with unfailing care. “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” (1 Corinthians 13:7)