I try not to keep track of time-- how long Colby has been in Heaven. Honestly, some months the eleventh rolls around and I do not remember until the twelfth or thirteenth... oh, another month closer to seeing Colby again! The first week and first month were hard reminders, but then we settled into a rhythm of creating a new normal with different family dynamics. The first dinner around the table without Colby was excruciatingly painful complete with tears and stubbornness to not want to do it, but Mr. White insisted that we get it over. He was right. The hole at the dinner table seems a little less wide now, but it is a hole nonetheless.
Someone asked me last week if I have moments of grief and remembering like a flood. It actually feels like more an ache that is always there. Sometimes it is dull. Sometimes it is sharp. But it never goes away and is always deep. I am in the phase where I am surprised if fifteen minutes pass and I have not thought about Colby... oh look, I have not thought about him! Colby worried that he would be forgotten. He once asked, "Are you going to have one of those places in the house that have my picture and stuff when I die?"
"You mean a shrine?" I replied.
"Yes!" he said.
"You will be all over this house just as you have been, not just in a corner." I assured him.
Oh, sweet child, if I only I knew and you knew then that this heart and head of mine never forgets and is constantly reminded of you.
It feels like a flash and an eternity since I laid next to him. Today marks six months. Six months since his Heaven date. Six months closer to seeing him again. Six months since his physical suffering ended and our grief suffering began. Six months of urging the tears to come at more convenient times and failing. Six months of reminding ourselves to look up and into His Word to make sense of it all. Six months to look back and marvel... oh Lord, You have gotten us through with unrelenting grace and are restoring the years the locust ate.
I know there are millions of people who walk through grief, tragedy, and life without Jesus. I understand that millions more have convictions in a higher power vastly different than mine. I recognize that believing in a God who "allows" such heartache in this world and a Jesus who hung on a cross is seen by some as human foolishness and fallacy. I also acknowledge with heartache that the very suffering which can cause one to press into God can also cause another to push away from Him. I do not have all the answers for why and how and when and why not. However, I can only share my journey with and story of a God who loved me enough not to spare me of a heartache and pain... and to use it to change the desires of my heart to beat for the desires of His heart. That is the most glorious, tear-stained place to be.
This morning, I came across this verse in researching for a paper. John Piper does a much better job of analyzing the text but here is what stuck with me:
1. Paul experienced some type of affliction in Asia.
2. He and those with him were "burdened beyond" their own strength.
3. That burden caused them to despair at life and feel they received a death sentence.
4. Paul ends by acknowledging that the reason for 1-3 was so that they would not rely on themselves but on God who raises the dead.
Did you see that? Suffering, even suffering to the point of death, produces a reliance on God who is able to raise the dead. My prayer and that God-sized boost that I needed today was to allow my grief suffering and any other future suffering which the Bible promises in this world to produce in me a dependence on God... a God who has promised an eternal home even if the end result of my suffering is an earthly death.
Six months. Half of a year. Sweet Colby, I am learning the lessons you learned. He is good. His grace is enough. The cross is worth it.