It was one of “those” mornings as my day got started today. Perhaps it is the change of seasons. Or maybe it is because Thanksgiving is right around the corner. It could be partially triggered by still another friend losing a parent this week. I will attend that funeral tomorrow. Another friend lost his son in a tragic accident earlier this fall. There are probably a complex mix of reasons. But the truth is I felt the pangs of grief as I reflected on the loss of several longtime friends over the past several years.
Grief is a tricky character. He lurks in the shadows and jumps out at you when least expect it. He sneaks up and takes your emotions captive when he intuitively knows you are vulnerable.
Grief fools you. You think he is gone. And maybe you are even naïve enough to think he has left for good this time. But he is never far. He takes shorts trips, but he is never far.
Grief is persistent. My father died in 1978. During my teen years, he tackled me and tried really hard to keep me down. And then at age 29, when my mother died he was equally persistent. He is not one to give up easily.
Grief is unrelenting. During 2012 and 2013 I lost four friends and experienced my first line of duty death as a law enforcement chaplain. It felt like a hurricane of serious illness and death blew in during those years. The deaths of peers and mentors alike came within months of each other. Grief refused to stop.
The day ended better today. I saw a quote a friend posted that caused me to see things in a different light. The quote is as follows: Grief is the last act of love we have to give to those we loved. Where there is deep grief, there was great love. That fires off a change in perspective.
Grief has fooled me into thinking he is control. But he is not. I am in control of how he functions in my life. I choose to let grief be the last act of love that I give to those I loved, because I firmly believe that where there is a deep grief there was great love. And I am grateful that God is ultimately in control and empowering me to love deeply even in grief.