Life is such a funny thing. Periods of great joy and deep grief run parallel with one another. Elation and loss side-by-side, each one demanding your full attention – neither receiving it because you find yourself incapable of fully committing to the experience of either. Instead, you find yourself vacillating between the two. Moments of great happiness followed by times of overwhelming melancholy . . . and the life events that lead us there are as different as the feelings themselves.
I have Sisters walking through such grief as they come to terms with doing a portion of this temporal life without their Mommas. . . without their children . . .they simultaneously ache with the reality of their daily absence and rejoice that the ones they loved so well are now free of pain and worry, standing hand-in-hand with Jesus. They delight that their faith has become sight but the apartness of it all is so heavy sometimes. So they find themselves living in a place of both joy and emptiness, hearts etched by separation and spirits anticipating sweet reunions . . .knowing the reality of the Apostle Paul’s statement that we do not grieve as those who have no hope.
I have Sweet Friends in soul combat as their “adult-children” begin navigating life on this decaying planet in a new way. They beam with pride at the accomplishments of their babies as their high school days are left behind and they pray with ferocity for their futures. They put together picture boards in commemoration of milestones and try to imagine the new images that will be part of their children’s monumental moments in the days to come. They are standing between the mountain-top of triumph and the fresh climb into the unknown that looms just ahead for their young people. Young people who head toward new destinations on their life journeys and take with them very real and very large chunks of their Momma’s hearts. Hearts that at once celebrate what lies ahead and remember the sweetness of what is behind. Hearts that hear the Voice of Love whisper . . . “train a child up” . . . and cling to it with everything they are.
God opened my eyes to this strange linking of emotional arms this morning as I set about the business of continuing to sort and pack away my daughter’s things. I pack a little and I cry a little. I do heavy sighs as if my heart can’t get enough air as I look from thing to thing and the memories flood through my mind and onto my cheeks. The wedding is over. The new life in a new state has begun for her. My emotions flow back and forth between great happiness over her new experiences and powerful waves of what I can only describe as heart blues.
And I’m sure she is encountering some version of that same ebb and flow as she makes her new home. Unpacking boxes that speak to the security of a time now passed and choosing new things to create a sense of belonging in this place of fresh beginning. New wife, new life . . . joy and anticipation colliding head on with a peculiar mixture of mourning and melancholy.
No matter where you are reading from, you have a similar experience. A time when it seemed that your heart argued with itself about what you should be feeling. A dear friend reminded me years ago when my Sweet Girl left for college on the opposite end of the country and I walked through the same dichotomy of emotions that we were never meant to experience painful separation from one another. Might that be why it is so difficult to nail down the way we feel about being apart?
I confess that this upheaval in my emotions, while unpleasant at times, has served a beautiful purpose. It has opened my eyes and allowed me a glimpse of the eternity I will spend in Glory. It has made me marvel at what Jesus was willing to endure when He experienced the ultimate separation on the Cross so we could spend eternity in glorious togetherness.
There will be no farewells in heaven. Glory wasn’t designed for clashing emotions. Loss will have no place in eternity and its fraternal twin loneliness will never draw a breath. Mourning and melancholy simply won’t be part of the equation. Sadness and sorrow will never make their way past the Gate called Beautiful.
The ransomed of God will delight in the absence of mixed emotion and savor the full presence of one another . . .not a tear will be shed and everlasting joy will crown the head of the redeemed. Gladness and joy will overtake us and sorrow and sighing—the kind we do when we feel like our hearts can’t get enough air—they will flee away.
Beloved, that’s our reality – our certain outcome – because He is our reality and He will not change His mind concerning us. We won’t be visited by loss and the pain of grief will not find a home. There will be no more life transitions or waiting for blessed reunions. No more intermingling of elation and melancholy. Never again will we utter the goodbye. Sweet Sister, if you find yourself with a fractured spirit—part of you celebrating while the other part grieves—you take heart Precious Believer . . .our complete joy is guaranteed and the Nevermore of separation will be ours when our feet are firmly planted in the Evermore of Glory.