On February 3, a really long time ago, my dad died. On February 5, we buried him, and that was that. I was a kid and it pushed me into a downward spiral I stayed on for a lot of years. But then Jesus came and pulled me up and changed my heart and I was still sad, but not on the downward spiral. And each year on February 3, I remember a lonely, vulnerable little girl and her world shattering, and I am sad for her and her dad.
But then came my husband. For months he knew he wanted to propose, but he waited. And waited. He was waiting for February 3 to pass. He knelt on February 5 to ask me forever so that I’d always have a day to say goodbye to my dad, but a follow-up day to say hello to my husband. Mission accomplished: I don’t think I’ve recounted that funeral in all these years because instead I’ve relished in my proposal.
But what of the day in between –the 4th? It can go back to the 3rd and recount sorrow, or it can look forward to the 5th and anticipate joy. I remember the day after my dad died going all over the mall finding funeral clothes and each saleslady asked just a little too chipper how I was. Terrible, Lady.
But how am I now all these years later on the 4th?
I think a lot of grieving mothers live in the 4th for a long time. There’s a part of us that never wants to leave the rawness of losing our babies. We are that much closer to them in time, we remember more vividly. There was an eye in the storm because after all what choice did we have. But now it’s the 4th and that day is over.
There may be babies after the storm and slowly our hearts start to consider this, desire this, fear this. Sometimes we stick a toe in and swirl around the water a bit just to see the ripples. But it’s still the 4th, so we quickly jerk back to dry ground.
And then there’s the choice. Unlike time marching on without our consent, grieving mothers have to make the choice to go to the next joy. They can sit contentedly in some romantically distressful fashion forever in the 4th ‘s limbo or they can bid a whistful ‘see you around’ to the rawness and plunge fully into the 5th. Only then we find we’re still tethered to the 3rd and we never can really say adieu. And it’s kindof comforting actually.
What 4ths have you sat in? What have you stared back at with grief thinking you’d never leave? What have you dared to taste for just a moment before you ran back for cover? How did you finally leave the 4th? Or are you still there?
For me, it is Jesus. I know that my sorrows are real and wearisome. My burden is heavy and I’m tired. But I know that in crying out to Him, He takes it all and strengthens me in the sabbatical of the 4th and prepares me for the future. He’s done this over and over, never failing me, never forsaking me. Even when I’m scared, I trust His heart and follow His leading because He loves me so.
I can’t keep from realising that Jesus rose after the “4th”. But it took going through it to get there.
Enjoy the 4th. Make it count. Give it to Jesus and follow Him.