25 February, 2017

Comfort on an anniversary

Today is an anniversary. The anniversary of the day my father-in-law died last year. The context of that day was that I was in Bangkok when my husband was woken at 3.30am with the news that his father had passed from this life. I woke a while later to a text from him with the news. Though I my father-in-law was not an intimate part of my life, it hit me hard that day.

But it's not the only grief that happened last year. See The colander of expat life 

This is one of my most precious memories of my father-in-law. Just after
David and I were pronounced man and wife I called him "dad" for the first
time. He asked me to repeat that, for the pleasure of hearing it!
I hesitate to write about grief, because what do I know about it? I've never had someone I'm very close to die. I haven't even had a miscarriage (that I know of). I don't work in a country up close and personal with trauma or grief. I haven't lived in a war-torn country or even a country where my personal safety has been in jeopardy (barring the time in 2011 when we had a nuclear threat over our heads).

However my life has not been without grief, it is, in fact, an underlying source of stress for missionaries like me who value deep relationships. See another post from last year: Missionaries and Grief

But as I wrote in October in Empty Chairs, it isn't the magnitude of the grief that can be the problem, it is how you deal with it. Minimising it doesn't help. Naming the griefs and recognising them does.

This post I've just seen this month talks about naming the griefs and how that, in the context of giving it over to God can be a precious gift.

So here, I'm naming the fact that this time last year we suffered a significant grief in our extended family. It hasn't gone without notice that David's dad is gone. It's something that I periodically dwell on as life barrels onwards. As I do the other griefs that continue to linger in my heart: especially the lost friendships (primarily due to distance—people moving away or me moving away from others). 

And I take comfort from God's promise to those of us who love him:
Therefore you too have grief now; but I will see you again, and your heart will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you (John 16:22 NASB).

1 comment:

Sarah said...

My condolences, Wendy, on this sad anniversary. That was a great post.