Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Springtime of My Grief

photo by Danetta Kellar
Life Emerging By the Creek

“What I would give to just go back to last week.”

These were the words of a grieving friend recently after the heart shattering loss of a child.

The sad truth is that we cannot go back, we can only go forward, whether we want to or not.

This time last year I was on the family farm, tucked away in my writing retreat, marveling at the emerging springtime around me. 

The words flowed from a place deep within me, like the roaring creek waters beside the cabin, rushing clear and crisp like hope. I was enamored with the vision. The vision of life emerging from death.

My spirit soared as I roamed the hills and roads, stopping to examine every sign of green life that persistently and heroically pressed its beauty upward through winter’s dead ground. God’s promise of life was tangible, it was audible, it was visible, it was fragrant. And my heart exulted in the future.

I have learned that God often fills us that we may be poured out for His purposes. 

The joy and vision He instilled in me last springtime on the mountain was for purposes and glory I could not imagine, still cannot fully fathom. They stand at the door of my present grief, asking questions I cannot answer.

A few months after my springtime retreat, evil broke into our place of peace and senselessly robbed the life of one who was dear. During the height of summer it crept in under the cover of darkness and changed us forever.

My uncle, the faithful, eccentric, grouchy one, the quiet helper of all who were in need, was lured from his house one night by a familiar voice of one whom he had helped. Moments later, he lay on his porch dying, the robbers taking what they could carry.  

The porch of our childhood memories, where the swing moves gently in the summer breeze, was the last thing he saw.

Our beautiful family farm became a place of horror, of terrible images we cannot now unsee. The place where we have celebrated so many of life’s passages became a place where we now grieve a life stolen and shattered. Winter has blown cold and lonely this year, paralyzing our hearts with sorrow.

It is springtime again. We know we have to go back there, for farms do not tend themselves. Fields do not mow themselves, gardens do not weed themselves, and hearts do not heal themselves. The winter is past and life is calling us to come and tend it.

Today I am wondering how I will be able to breathe that air again. Will it suffocate me with the weight of devastation? Will the birds sing a different song, a mournful refrain, in the birch trees? Am I courageous enough to believe and trust that life will indeed come out of this death?

It does not seem fair that the flowers appear and the grass grows green when what is precious is lost, taken away. But we are not promised fairness, nor are we promised a life free of loss and pain. 

We are promised life.

Life that rises impossibly out of death. It bursts forth with brilliant hues, its beauty intensified against the backdrop of our pain.

Life that rises shockingly, scandalous in its opposition to the rules of man.

Life that heals our broken hearts.

And in His great mercy, the Creator of Springtime sends his trumpet-bearers, declaring their glory-songs. Hope! Trust! Life will rise out of this desolation! 

The flowers and the trees are radiant epistles from heaven, beckoning us nearer. They call us to Hope, to knowing death is not the end, but the beginning.

I choose to set my hope upon the promise of Life right now, as the springtime of my grief emerges irrepressibly around me. 

Are you struggling to move forward from the devastation of grief? Does springtime seem an insult to your pain? You are not alone. I am praying for you, broken one, that wherever you find yourself today, you can hope with me.

Share your story of springtime hope with me.


We are not promised fairness, nor a life free of loss and pain. We are promised life out of death. (Click to Tweet)

1 comment:

  1. This winter has been difficult for many people I have spoken with. Not because it has been an especially cold or snowy winter. Except for a brief couple of weeks, it has been uneventful for the most part. But it has been difficult because it has seemed especially dark. The darkness has seemed to overshadow us, and we are ready for the light and life of Spring.
    We don't know why bad things happen in this life. We know they are the result of sin, but we cannot know all that God knows in our lifetimes on the Earth. But what Satan means for evil, God will use for good. We are on the verge of an eternal Spring... the signs are everywhere. But first we must endure the dark.
    Hold fast to God's plans for you, dear friend. You are a treasure and a blessing to so many. I know you have been for me.