Entries in Sorrow (2)
Funerals are always sobering and cause a deeper and more poignant reflection on life, death, and the significance of relationships. The funeral that I attended on February 12th was all of that and more. My young friend Eddie was killed in an auto accident. He was 19 years of age. It was and is a tragedy.
During times like this, life is reduced to the essentials. The question that dominates my thinking is “What really is important?” When a life ends abruptly just short of two decades, how does one find any solace and comfort at all, let alone meaning and purpose. But here are my essentials that keep me focused and also help me avoid despair:
- God is God, and I am not.
- God is still in control.
- I need to live my life knowing that I am not a permanent fixture in this world.
- God is the One who gives comfort.
- I need to constantly learn what it means to be Christ-like.
- The only true joy is found in loving God and loving others.
In times like these I find that my sorrow can either be a weight or a wing. If I allow my sorrow to weigh me down to the point where I disconnect from others, then it will be a hindrance to my growth emotionally and spiritually. But if I embrace my sorrow and allow God to use it to more deeply understand Him and those around me, then what is painful becomes a necessary tutor in my journey on this earth.
“As for man, his days are like grass, he flourishes like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more. But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear Him, and his righteousness with their children’s children – with those who keep His covenant and remember to obey His precepts… Praise the Lord, O my soul.” - Psalm 103:15-18, 22
"Has it ever occured to you," I asked him, "that we are shaped more by our sorrows than our joys? When I look back, it's not the happy times that still have power over my life. It's the places where things went wrong."
That is a quote from the book I am currently reading. I read that and had to pause for a moment for the truth that it brings to sink in. All of us have and have had sorrows in our lives. It is not possible to live in this world and not have them. The issue is how are we going to use them (or not use them) to shape us?How much power are we going to let them have over our lives? That is a choice each of us have to make for ourselves. To use sorrow for our greater good shapes us, I believe, for the better. However, there is a cost in using them for our good. The cost is having to face the sorrow and make peace with the source of the pain that is behind it. Although facing pain is hard, it is worth the cost.