Monday, January 30, 2012

The Pilgrim's Journey

I love this profound quote by Eyleen Farmer, which truly has shaped the way Meade and I attempt to navigate life and loss.  We find it particularly poignant and helpful during this 19-day span of time each year when we celebrate our twins' birth, reflect on their time on earth together, and anticipate another anniversary of Warren's death here but greater life in heaven.

   "But loss and the ensuing collapse of our assumptions about     
   how our lives would or should be is a universal human 
   experience. Moreover, we don't really "get over" our losses. 
   They stay with us, shaping the contours of our lives. If 
   sufficiently severe, they can distort our souls. 

   But if we are brave enough to explore the territory- to  
   undertake the pilgrim's journey through grief's landscapes-
   the sharp, ragged edges will gradually soften. At our 
   journey's end we will find a more immediate sense of 
   gratitude, an expanded capacity for love, and even, at 
   moments when we least expect it, the quickening of 
   something akin to joy."

Indeed, life always comes from death.  But sometimes we forget that the death part is real.  There is death, sorrow, and heartache involved.  However, as we undertake the "pilgrim's journey" and do not let bitterness take up permanent residence in our lives, we can begin to see the evidence of life: gratitude, love, and joy.  
I find Paul also captures this sentiment in 2 Corinthians 1:3-11, acknowledging both the severity of our troubles at times but also and even more so the Lord, the One who comforts, delivers, and breathes life into seemingly hopeless situations.  Since the Word of God NEVER returns void (Isaiah 55:11), I hope this passage comforts you in both the joys and trials as you start another week:  

   "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,  
   the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who 
   comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those 
   in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received 
   from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into 
   our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. If we 
   are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are 
   comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you 
   patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our 
   hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share 
   in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.
   We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the 
   hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were 
   under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so 
   that we despaired even of life. Indeed, in our hearts we felt 
   the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not 
   rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has 
   delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. 
   On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver 
   us, as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give 
   thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in 
   answer to the prayers of many."

1 comment:

  1. I love the quotation and the verse. Thanks for all of your great posts, Mary Liz!