There I stood in the middle of worship, my hands raised, eyes closed with tears falling down my face, absolutely encapsulated in the worship of my Savior, Jesus. When all of a sudden in my mind’s eye, there stood my dad. With his arm’s raised, he too was worshiping the Lord right along with me, when suddenly, with a huge smile on his face, my dad turned around and looking behind him said, “Oh Father, that is my daughter worshiping You!” It was in that very moment, I had never felt closer to my dad since the day he went to heaven. I know that we were together, in spirit. Both worshiping. Both loving and praising the One that gave His Son, His life, for us. The only difference between my dad and I was that I was still here on earth, but my dad…he was in the very presence of our Savior!
I’ve never experienced grief like this before. Though I have walked through my grandparents going on to heaven, my dad going to heaven was completely different. Of course I knew one day I would face this because it’s a part of life, however, his passing made my eyes wide open to what that word grief truly means.
Grief is an aching of the soul, that seems like it cannot be soothed. It goes beyond just sadness. It is painful, and the pain is deep within you, There are times that it is hard to function. Simple tasks like getting out of bed, getting dressed become more like obstacles. It is a hole in your heart and life that feels like it can never be filled. Other than that, there is really no other way to describe it except to say that “it’s indescribable.”
I have said, “I am so sorry for your loss” to people more times than I can count. But I was clueless. Don’t get me wrong, my sentiments were true, it was from my heart. However, I really had no idea what they were really going through and I have learned that without knowing what a person is really going through, there is really no way to be “sorry” no matter how much you sincerely want to be. Recently, my father-in-law’s best friend, Glenn, went to heaven. The Sea family and our family have been so close, we’ve been like “family,” though there is no blood involved. When Glenn went to heaven, I grieved for the family. Still do at times. I cried with them instead of for them because I know and have experienced the pain and aching of the heart with the hole that is left.
I survived the year of “firsts” with almost more than I could handle. The grief of my dad was complicated with the second marriage for my mom, just two month’s shy of my dad’s first heavenly anniversary, but that grief was completely different and perhaps for an other blog. Reaching that first year doesn’t resolve the grief. The one year mark is just a milestone and reaching that milestone simply gives you the courage to face the next that comes with another year.
Ephesians 1:23 (MSG) …He fills everything with His presence.
Flipping through photos of my dad, I find myself always trying to look deep in his eyes, to see the life that was there. When I want to hear his voice, I simply press ‘play’ on one of several voice mails that I saved throughout the years. Most of those recordings all start out the very same way, “It’s me…” In a couple of messages, he tells me about new insight he gained to a scripture he read. In another message, he’s excitingly counts the number of cookies a high-school friend brought him. But no message is left without him telling me how much he loves me or how proud he is of me. Though I have hundreds of pictures and several voice mails, it’s when I want to be WITH my dad that I love the very most. All I have to do is worship. It’s in sincere and authentic worship, that I am instantly brought into the presence of the Lord, right where my dad is doing the very same thing. It’s there that we are together, in worship! I’ve only had the vision of my dad that one time, but if it never happens again, that one time was enough. Hebrews 12 says that we have a “cloud of witnesses” that are cheering us on in our race towards heaven and I am confident that my dad is just one of them cheering me on. What I have learned through grief is that it’s only in His presence that the aching of my soul can be soothed. It’s only in His presence that the hole in my heart and life can be filled. It’s there, in worship, that my dad and I are together and that’s where I want to stay.
Life, Love and Cancer Ribbons,