Friends and fathers and memorials

Once again I have to apologize for my delay in posting.  This time my excuse isn’t nearly as fun as a cruise.

On Monday we held the memorial service for my dad.

It was weird and hard and easy and good.

I’m not sure what I was expecting.  I guess overwhelming grief that would bubble out and be impossible to contain.  I guess I was expecting a dramatic and cathartic goodbye that would be the end of all this.

It turned out I felt pretty much the same after the service as I did at the beginning.  No earth shattering realizations or soul healing encounters.

As people started to leave, I could feel myself beginning to panic.  Inside my head I just kept thinking that we can’t possible be finished already.  Wait.  Is this it?  I’m not ready!  I’m not ready to be done with all this.  

Never fear.  I didn’t cause a scene by shouting these things out loud.  (My sister had the market cornered on memorial service madness by introducing everyone to her miniature pig.  Yes folks.  That’s right.  Mini-Pig.)

I just breathed in and out.  I let my friend’s walk away and reminded myself that no one, (except me) expects this to be the end of my grief.

It’s Wednesday now, and in the aftermath of Monday there are the two thoughts I can’t escape:

1. The real memorial is yet to come. Monday was just a day.  In fact, it was just two hours out of one day.  I’m not sure why I thought it would change everything and get all the ‘grief’ out of my system.

Honestly, I think I will have to bury my dad for a long time to come.  I think I’ll have to bury him  on my sister’s wedding day. I’ll have to bury him every Father’s day.  I’ll have to bury him every time I flip to my ‘family’ card in my prayer cards where his name is hastily scribbled to remind me to beg God for his heart to be made new.  I think there will be more than enough opportunities in the days to come for me to fight to believe that the life that is being written for me is better than the one I could write for myself.

2. I’m God’s favorite.  On Monday I saw what it looks like to bear one another’s burdens.

On Monday, we were led in worship by a leader from my church.  He stepped in and learned all the music in three days out of love for our friend, who was set to lead but couldn’t make it at the last-minute.

On Monday, I listened to my boss, friend and pastor lead the service and speak truth to my family with a warm heart.  He said all the things I didn’t know how to say and he said them with love and the Spirit.  I know him well enough to know how much this took out of him, but he never showed me anything but eagerness.  When I think about all the ways he has sacrificed for me these past few months it literally makes me cry.

On Monday, I received text after text filled with thoughts that brought comfort and prayers that were effective immediately.

On Monday, the service was filled with my friends and co-workers who drove 5-6 hours to stand with me in a room where I talked to them for 5-10 minutes.

But here’s the kicker and here’s how I know I’m God’s favorite: none of that made me feel less alone.  Isn’t that crazy?? All that love displayed, and none of it made me feel more known and less afraid.

God loves me so much.  If He loved me any less He’d have let me be satisfied by them, but He made my heart restless and needy for Him.

As close as my sisters stood, they couldn’t be inside my heart holding me together.  As near as my friends were, they couldn’t keep my soul warm.  There really is only One who is in this thing with me.  On Monday I kept imaging this voice in my head: It’s me and you.  It’s me and you, kid.  

It’s me and Him.  And we’re gonna be okay.  We really are.

He has written my life so…specially.  I just can’t believe that anyone else can have it as good as me. I have everything in Christ. I really do.

Through Him I’m given a family of believers who cannot save me from pain and cannot fix my life.  Through Him I’m given friends who put flesh on His promise to provide.

Through Him I’m given a Savior who has found me and will shepherd me.  I will never be lost, no matter how I feel.  I will never be in danger, no matter how I feel.

Through Him I’m given a Father who won’t ever leave me.  We will never have to say goodbye. It will be me and Him from this day until forever.

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