“Three things will last forever – Faith, Hope, and Love – and the greatest of these is Love.”1 Corinthians 13:13 – New Living Translation
I will remember 2019 as the year where many of my significant first-time experiences turned into dramatic forevers.
One is that time I got married in the rain. And for the first time, I entered into the forever commitment of ‘death do us part.’ I like this kind of forever. In all that is known and unknown, this stage of life is my favourite. My husband is strong and serving and kind.
We were gifted the exhilarating moment of finding out that we were pregnant for the first time. In a single moment my life was propelled into the privilege of motherhood, forevermore. I welcomed the tango with shock and bliss. This was only our second month of being Mr. & Mrs. and, having had one of my ovaries removed in my late 20’s, this was a promising dance.
Then, we came face-to-face with anguish in the death and loss of our first little baby. Ten weeks into our pregnancy, grief arrived and absorbed us into her seemingly forever cycle of pain and misery. A forever loss.
Grief is an interesting companion; not easy to understand and a ceaseless reminder of our wound. I am not sure if she will ever leave. Yet, I trust in the necessary counsel of her presence. Grief makes herself known, debilitating us along this path and it’s heavy moving forward from where we surrendered our first child into eternity.
Mostly I’m sidestepping the many holes of anger, bitterness, resentment and depression, scattered everywhere, like snares along the way. They are deep, deep holes. A lot of days I really hate it and some days I crawl.
Stopping, though, is not an option.
I want to tell of faith, hope and love; three gifts from a forever place that I believe in. They make this path stable and without them I would tumble.
As I travel with grief, I grasp onto my faith in the goodness of God. Even when asked to walk a path I don’t want to, I choose to believe that the path itself does not determine nature of God nor His heart towards me. I believe He is a giver of grace. Grace to rise and move, and enough for today.
Which leads me to hope; a subtle fire in my heart that warms my spirit when dark thoughts are relentlessly cold. The fire of hope yields a quiet light, illuminating the promises that are waiting in tomorrow. Grief may be a companion, but hope is a guide.
And then there’s love. The generous acts of kindness from people in community. Dishes of baked food brought to my home, thoughtful texts, pretty flowers and boxes of my favourite tea. But mostly, the sacrifice and service of being sincerely available to what comes when the risky question, “How are you, really?” is asked.
An easy life is never promised, and I know that we are all accompanied by grief on many levels. This is life.
May we love one another well; for it is a limitless force that makes all our uncharted, forever paths, completely worthwhile.