Our church filled with family, friends, and coworkers. Their heartfelt sorrow and compassion palatable as they hugged us and cried for our pain. We are blessed to have what we have. Then, slowly, after we said goodbye to Kathryn, it emptied. Easing toward a new, altered normality.
2 Corinthians 7:9-11 (ESV)
9 As it is, I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting. For you felt a godly grief, so that you suffered no loss through us. 10 For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.
We are all called home at some point. As a parent, I had hoped, expected really, to go before my children. All parents do. Didn’t happen this week. Still, I hope we don’t have to do this again; that the next service is a celebration of a long life. It brings me peace though, that through the love of God, through forgiveness, through the saving grace of Christ, I don’t have to worry about some of my children if they do go before me. I’m deeply worried about some of them too. When a life ends, we shouldn’t have to wonder how God works, what happens in those last minutes.
“There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, in the end, ‘Thy will be done.’” (C. S. Lewis, The Great Divorce, p75)
I’ve lived on both sides of the equation.
I’ve hated God, loved my self, run roughshod over the feelings and lives of others, just living to feed the insatiable furnace of self gratification. I didn’t know what I was doing at the time, didn’t know what it looked like from the other side. I just thought it was normal. I took to feed what I wanted, what I convinced my self was my right, my need(s). Quite a bit of the worldly way.
I strive mightily to live on the other side now and it’s a much better place. God does that to your soul, to your life, to your paradigms. A life of love of because of how He loves; a life of service to others because that’s how He lives; a life of forgiveness because of how we’ve been forgiven, a life of grace because of the grace He’s shown us. I’m grateful to have a framework that makes the insanity of the world easy to comprehend and move in.
So, as this family is drawn back into the cadence of the world, as we drive the car past the grieving home without even knowing, as we read the stories and wonder how it can be so f’d up and then move on, as we move into our normality without Kat, I reach out to whomever is reading this.
Consider Christ. Christ is not the legalistic, brutal, self righteous, self serving, hypocritical, sanctimonious church that drove you away. Christ is not the “christian” who spews hate and legalistic venom. Those people will have to answer to Him for their actions, for their liableous slander.
Consider Christ. Take the time to learn of his teachings and what they mean for you, what they could mean for the world if we only knew them enough to live them, to incorporate them into the fabric of our soul as He is so longing for us to do. Learn who he is, what he is, what he calls us to be. He’s not just a great man, he’s the greatest man – in the image of God (as we are created), as God, fully God’s love, grace, peace, strength. That’s the other side and a new normality to live in.
Thank you to all of you for your outpouring of support. You’ve blessed us with your words and deeds. Thank you God for love.