I am sitting here writing this post on my laptop (literally in the car on our way to North Carolina for a family vacation) because I just finished the book and I couldn’t bear for all the emotion and power to be stripped from my memory before I shared my thoughts. If I’m being honest, I just wanted to copy and paste about half of his book into this post. I realize that would be plagiarism if I claim it as my own so I won’t go for that but know that if you truly do want to learn about the heart of someone who is mourning you need to pick up this book or download it to your kindle. Right. Now.
While there are a million and one things I could share (which is why you should read the actual book and not just my blog post about it) there are two that stood out to me as I read this book over the course of several months. I had to allow myself to pick it up and put it down when I needed to. The timing could not have been more perfect when I felt urged to pick it back up. Several months ago when I started the book I needed someone to understand the pain. I know so many people understand grief and experience death in many different ways but I needed someone that held their child in their arms and waited for them to breathe their last breath. I did that and I felt lonely in that. I felt sorrow and a deep pain that felt like it would never leave me. While in the midst of that storm, during some of the darkest days, I read something that spoke to me.
In his book he shared a three-word description from Philippians on what it’s like to have someone you love die: ‘sorrow upon sorrow.’ The phrase, he explains, is in the original Greek a nautical term that describes waves crashing. As someone that has indeed experienced grief I know that waves come at random. They aren’t clean or neat. They are dangerous and extremely unpredictable. The waves make it nearly impossible to breathe sometimes. He goes on to explain the stages of grief and how he (like I) found the stages to be messy as well. There is no rhyme or reason as to when you start or end a stage. You can come in and out of them for a long, long time. “They swirl together like an ugly emotional cocktail.” When you think you may be out of the stormy waters another wave you didn’t see takes you back out into the great vast sea and you have to start over making your way to the shore.
This was just the beginning. Someone out in our great big world understood. And now, several months later when I stuck the book into my bag for vacation I decided after a rough night or two I wanted to finish the book. Oh, how God graces us with what we need right when we need it. This afternoon while we were driving I read about something I had also experienced but could have never put into these powerful words. It happened to me nonetheless and I would not have accepted this truth or taken it to heart had I read it several months ago. I was not in a place where I could. Today I can.
“Having my daughter go to heaven in my arms acted as a cataclysmic event, opening my eyes up to eternity like never before. It shook me from my cocoon of comfort and made the bread and circuses of this world become visible and less desirable to me…I found that grief undeniably enhanced my spiritual senses. Being so near to eternity causes you to almost be able to taste it. I suppose that is what Jesus meant by, ‘Blessed are those who mourn.’ (Matthew 5:4) There are gifts you get from God in the midst of grief that you would never have had the bandwidth to receive if everything was going as planned. It was as though a lens that had been misaligned deep inside my soul jolted back into place.”
Grief and missing Charlie will always be like an ocean full of emotion that I never can predict but it is also something I can use to tell others about my home in heaven. We all yearn for more and it’s because there is more. A great host of amazing things waiting for us in heaven, our homeland.
This whole post seems silly because I don’t feel like I said much of anything and I am debating whether or not it will even make it on my blog but it’s a way for me to remember this place I’m in and a way for me to share our Heavenly Father’s love because it is indeed greater than Satan and all of the hurt and pain in our world.
Now, go read Levi Lusko's book. You won't regret it.