Archive for September 2010

Lamenting

September 12, 2010

Last night on our way home me and him listened to a sermon given by a good friend.  It was profound and it cut to the heart of both of us.  It was about the importance of lamenting loss.  As a good wee norn irish prod this really resinated with me, mostly because we’re crap at this.  I have said goodbye to so many people in my life that when I think about it all at once it breaks my heart. People I love now dead.  People I love now moved to the other side of the world.  People I love gone one way or another.

For a good 3/4’s of my life I truly believed with all my heart that the right christian response to death was one of some kind of joy.  ‘how dare I be sad when my brother is in a far better place now with God, I should be able to rejoice for his privileged position’.  My natural heart bent was not this and so i forced my grief to quiet itself deep behind walls that i built over time in my heart.  This year I will have lived as many years without him as with him and yet still today i’d give anything to see him walk through the door.  To Lament isn’t to be blind to the hope of the resurrection, it isn’t to be blind to the joy of knowing someone I love is home – truly home.  I know this and i’m really glad about this, but it still doesn’t change the fact that i’ll never have the opportunity again to tell him my stories, to introduce him to my friends, to my husband, it still doesn’t change the fact that i’ll never on this earth have the opportunity again to feel his strong arm across my shoulder or remember our childhood together.  To lament is to allow yourself to feel this shit, I just wish it hadn’t taken me until last year to realise this.

But this sermon on lament got me thinking about more than this.  My husband lost his dad almost 2 years ago, I met my husband about a year and a half ago.  I never got to meet his dad.  I have admired my husband and his family for their ability and courage to truly lament.  They are never afraid to speak of their grief or the one they’ve lost.  This is healthy i think.  But last night i was thinking about not only what it means for me to lament with my husband but also what it means for me to lament for one i’ve never met?

John Donne said this:

“No man is an island, entire of itself, every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.  If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friends or of thine own were any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls it tolls for thee.”

CS Lewis talks about this too, how when we lose a person we dont gain more of those left behind but we lose something of them also.

I’m wondering if  i can ever fully know Andy without knowing his dad?  I guess in a way we never fully know anyone no matter how long we journey together.

But something cool also occurred to me – by knowing Andy i know something of his dad in a real way.  I do actually feel like i know him even though i’ve never met him.  I’ve heard story after story, i’ve saw the impact of his life and his love on his family and community, i’ve read significant things that he wrote.  I know something of this man and so i know something more of my husband.

Anyway to he who preached the sermon, thank you.


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