Grief has the potential to smack you across the face when you last expect it. We think we get over things, that we move on and forget, that we're only strong when we've conquered feelings of loss, but it's not true.
This morning started out poorly as I watched last night's tearjerker episode of Downton Abbey, but then I went on to face the day just like any other. Oddly enough, it was the smallest thing - unclogging my drain with a wrench that my former step-father gave me years ago - that drew a wave of grief and sadness over me. I don't think I'll ever feel free to share the details of what happened with my step-dad, because it's more my mom's story than mine, but the gist of it is that he was a part of our life for many years, and his leaving us was a drawn-out and messy process. Despite that, I miss him sometimes. He stood alongside me and loved me when I was not very lovable. I grieve that the old closeness with him is gone, even though I know it was best for everyone that he leave.
Dealing with others' reactions has been hardest part of dealing with my step-dad's loss. So many people talk as though I could just flip a switch and stop loving him. As though all of the bad that happened had made me forget everything good that came before. By that way of thinking it is ridiculous to grieve him now, many years later. On the other hand, feelings often just don't make sense, and to force them into logic is to suppress my own healing. So on days like this, I let myself cry and grieve, knowing that this, too, shall pass. Despite what some well-meaning Christians may claim, having the joy of the Lord does not mean I no longer experience sadness. Rather, I seek to enjoy God's presence in the worst of times. I am always comforted by John 11:35, when Jesus wept at the death of Lazarus, because it shows Christ's humanity. He knew Lazarus would live, yet he wept for the pain Lazarus had undergone and for the grief his friends were experiencing. And you and I can weep too when grief overtakes us, knowing Him who shares our burdens and sorrows.