Wednesday, October 12, 2011

31 days || twelve: celebrating through tragedy.

 {free printable by Joy's Hope}

Remember this post from last week?

Things are tougher now, and even though I still stand by those words, still believe they are true... Today they are harder to swallow. Today, it is hard to celebrate. 

I've mentioned before, but I attended a very small private university in the South. My school was so small, in fact, that everyone literally knew everyone's name. Not a stranger passed through that campus. Everyone was greeted with smiles and hospitality, with waves and hellos.

That's why, when tragedy strikes, it hits us all. No matter how much time has passed since graduation, no matter how far geographically we have moved, when hurt hits a member of our family, there is sadness. 

This week, a young man I went to school with is mourning the loss of his mother and brother. 

And I cannot begin to fathom it. 

I do not know loss like this

When my grandfather passed away, I was 13, and I was devastated. My mom informs me and I suppose, deep down, I know it is true that I didn't cry much, not publicly. Instead, I would curl up in bed with my journal. I'd write, and I'd cry in my closet or softly into my pillow. I didn't want to be found out.

Today, I guess I kind of cope with tragedy in the same way, but now? Now I am not so afraid to cry publicly. 

It is, I think, important to mourn. To grieve. To experience the loss that is shaking and breaking you.

There's a verse in the Beatitudes that talks about the blessing those who mourn receive. For much of my life, I've been taught that Jesus is talking there about people who mourn over and repent of their sin. Those who are broken and shamed by the evil they have done.

I hope this isn't offensive, and honestly, I'm not sure whether it is theologically sound, but I believe that verse means exactly what it says

Those who mourn in this life will be comforted. 

By the people left behind. By those who love them. By memories. By family videos and old photographs. By hope. By the promise of something more.

It is not easy for me to see God in tragedy. I believe He is there, but He is, admittedly, hard for me to reach out and touch. He feels like more of a stranger to me.

As I grow older, I feel like I need my parents just as much I did when I was a little girl. I love to call and hear their voices. I seek their guidance, ask their opinions. I trust their love and loyalty to me. I appreciate the years they spent raising me, molding me and my brother into who we are today. 

And my heart breaks for a man who won't get to call his mother anymore. A young man who won't hear his mother's voice or see his brother's face. 

My breath is taken away by the unfairness of it all, and the only thing I know to do is pray. 

Sometimes that feels like so very little, and in the world's eyes, I imagine it is. But I have to trust that the family will feel these prayers of the hundreds, these prayers that are lifting them up and calling them by name, prayers that ask for peace and comfort and understanding and forgiveness. 

His grace is sufficient. It doesn't always feel that way, and I think that's what makes faith really hard. Hard to practice and hard to understand. 

I'm not really celebrating today. Instead, I'm mourning. I am praying, and I am asking that comfort be provided to the Ferguson family, just as it has been promised. 

Will you join me? 

for more information, visit my brother's post, here.


monster cakes said...

Praying. : )

our home to yours said...

Sometimes when we are so deep in sadness and can't feel God, that's because He is in us, in the sadness and in the pain. Not a dot of light on the horizon, but the strength that carries us thru the pain. I'm very sorry that young mans loss.

Brittany said...

Wonderful words Annie. I could't agree more. Recently, I've been seeing a lot more of God in tragedy. I'm not sure I can explain it adequately, but I think He's there more than ever when we need Him and when we ask Him to be.

Also, I really enjoyed reading your guest post about you and Jordan. Such a great friendship/love story.

Lauren said...

Will be praying for your friend and his family and the loss that is now a part of them. I can't even imagine what they must be going through. What a horror.

I will never forget when one of my good friends lost her husband in a car accident, going to the Psalms and shouting out to God the promises of His goodness through the pain and tears (that are still there, easily recalled, six years later). These are the times when my faith and hope in our Father have to be brought to the forefront of my suffering, so that I can be reminded of His Truth.

The comfort that I am so thankful that we get to cling to is that this isn't the life we were intended for - that our Lord's suffering, death, and resurrection has brought us the hope we are so desperate for. That the life and expectations that get taken or robbed from us are not the end of the story.

Praying that comfort, peace, and forgiveness will be with you, your friend, and his family at this injustice they've suffered and the mourning that they are suffering and going through.

Anonymous said...

I'll be praying for them

Rachael Lamb said...

I will be praying for the Ferguson family.

TefMarie said...

that story broke my heart when I read of it on Monday night. I don't know your friend personally but I've seen him at GCG and it still breaks my heart for his family and those that loved and knew them.

if we never mourned, we'd never be able to celebrate the goodtimes.

praying! praying! praying!

Brunella Z. said...

"vi ho chiamati amici"
I hope translated well.
For many reasons I feel as if this event was "home". Certainly from overseas I join you.
"I have called you friends" (Gospel of John)

Senja said...

Oh wow, I'll definitely pray!

I lost my little brother 18 years ago when he was 13 and my husband lost his dad when he was 11. I know how hard it is for him to grow up with a dad. But a mother is still something different. I think emotionally harder.

I'll pray for them!

Beautifully written. So was your brothers.

Annie said...

i believe that those who mourn will be comforted, because i believe God not only feels and intimately knows our pain, but because in that pain, He is our Comforter. and He manifests Himself through His Word, through His own speaking into our lives, through friends, through words, through a myriad of other things. and i think by mourning, we better understand why it's important to celebrate when we can. celebrating through mourning, too, helps develop the skill of mourning, so by that we learn to celebrate well when it is that season.

Kyle said...

Thank you Annie for mourning with us and asking for prayers on our behalf. That means so much.

"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble." Psalm 46:1

-Kyle F.

jenna said...

Annie, I just got around to catching up on your blog. This post... And your brother's post... Thank you for your words that so beautifully express things... Thank you for bringing more people in to the many praying for the Fergusons. Love you.