Tonight I sit on my couch with the Olympics on, a tube of Lays chips in front of me, and dishes from dinner by my feet. Blanket, TV remote, fiction book, Bible, phone, journal, and headphones surround me on the couch. It's the essence of a lazy evening.
Yet there's an unwelcome guest in my home. On my right is Jesus, a constant companion in ups and downs - and no, He's not the unwelcome guest. I sit in the middle, and on the other side is Grief. Like a house guest who doesn't know when to leave, she stays regardless of my wishes, and her presence must be tolerated. I suppose I may as well welcome her. In fact, she may have some important things to say, lessons to share and experiences to contribute.
For perhaps the first time, I can think of Grief as helpful. She helps me process my experiences in Cambodia. She helps me start to understand how deeply I care for those in Cambodia. She helps me understand my desire for comfort and a pain free life, and she helps open my eyes to how even Christ was led into grief and difficult seasons by the Holy Spirit Himself, by the Father Himself. Jesus, too, calls us clearly into hardship. Not to torture us but because He knows He's worth it. The pain, the agony, the struggles are worth it because Jesus is worth it.
Grief, me, and Jesus. I'll stop fighting, just for tonight, and make room for Grief on the couch. I'll sit with her, tears forming periodically, and the three of us will share this moment in life together.
Grief, welcome. I guess you can stay tonight.
Sadness, disappointment, all unpleasant emotions: I wonder what I have to learn from you. I'm sorry I haven't listened well, been a willing student. It's not my natural bent, but I will do my best to welcome you, too. Perhaps, eventually, there will be more than a party of three on my couch on a lazy afternoon.