Dear Friend

I have so much waiting in the wings… updates on Finn, and all sorts of nuggets of wisdom that I have mined over the past weekend at a retreat in California with my husband and dear friends… I feel constipated with blog posts and limited in my time to write and publish! I need some baby holders, stat, as my little guy just wants to snuggle and my other three want to wrestle. It makes typing difficult.

But for now, a letter. I wrote this epistle months ago in response to a friend who had recently suffered a loss. Even at the time, I remember thinking that it was written for more than just her. And I tucked it away for another day. This weekend, I encountered a gentleman next to me on  my flight who shared with me quite vulnerably about the journey he and his wife {whom he clearly adores} are on… it is one that involves loss and hope and hurt and healing. And I felt it was time to send this letter out to you, and to anyone you might know who needs an encouragement, an affirmation, a reminder that this journey we are all on is unique and winding messy and just that, a journey. But it is a journey that we do not embark upon alone.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Dear Friend,

I have heard the news. And I wanted to write, to show up in some way to say, not that I understand, but that you are not alone. That you are not forgotten. That you are not abandoned.

If I have learned anything about loss, it is that no one really understands. Two people in the same family enduring the same loss might emerge strangers to one another in their process of healing. So how can we ever assume we fully understand? Empathize, yes. Understand? I am not so sure.  Grief is a funny thing that way. Your story of healing will be your journey, hard to explain, speeding up in some parts, slowing or backtracking in others. On a given day you will feel like you have moved on, heart healed, {despite being forever changed}… and people will tell you you should not be afraid to cry. But on that day you will have no tears and want to scream back at them, “No, I am good! I am not afraid to cry. I would if I needed to, but I am ok!” And then two days later, an image will draw tears out of nowhere and you will wonder if you lied. If you betrayed your process. But you didn’t. It’s your process of walking through all sorts of emotions in their own time, at their own pace. Others might think your healing is too fast or too slow, too messy or too clean, too emotional or too cerebral. I just want to say there is no wrong way, except perhaps to not have a process at all. Don’t close off. Don’t avoid. Don’t run. Your only responsibility is to be present to whatever comes, honest with yourself most of all, and maybe a few people safe for your heart.

It may take weeks or months to carve this path, to learn what your new normal is, to learn how to expose and heal and grieve and laugh and celebrate. Life will look anew for you. And as you tread, you will be making a new story, one marked by resilience and decorated with compassion and shaped by hope.

And while not I, nor any other woman or man can understand {their well meaning words betray the reality of your unique experience} there is One who can. There is One who gently beckons to be welcomed in, not so that He can know your pain and your fear, your hope and your joy {because he already knows}, but so that you can know His.

For we have this God, scripture says, who is familiar with sorrow, with betrayal, with defeat. And who is well acquainted with wounds and grief and death… but who is also intimate with, and  in fact the source of, hope and joy and victory and life.

No, you are not alone, my friend. You are so very loved. You are so very His. And He has life waiting for you.

Love,

A friend.


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