June bugs. I don’t especially appreciate these nasty bugs who seem to fly without any direction or purpose into my window and worse…into my person. They’re pesky. Annoying. But not the worst that June has to offer. Like early spring, June can be a difficult time for me as it is yet another reminder of people missing from my life, of days that open the floodgates of my heart. (see this post)
In June, we would have celebrated my dad’s birthday and, of course, Father’s Day. I truly miss this dear man. He grew up with very little and wanted so much more for my brother and me. I remember each Christmas he would choose a special gift for each of us, just from him. One year he bought me a beautiful doll with dark curly hair, and I believe she wore a yellow dress and her name was Elizabeth. That would have been sweet all on its own; but my dad did very little in small measures and so, that doll came with an adorable bed, complete with canopy. I have no idea whatever became of that doll, but I have the memory of a special gift from a special man. He adored and doted on his grandkids. He, like my grandpa (see here), pretended to be gruff, but he was just a giant marshmallow. The kids affectionately dubbed him Grumpy Grampy. I wish he could have met his great grandsons. He would have loved nothing more than to peek at their sweet little baby feet and spoil them thoroughly. Sadly my dad died at a fairly young age. He had several health issues for years, from panic attacks to heart disease to cancer. He’d had many heart attacks (14, I’m told), but he lived his final days fighting lung cancer which spread throughout his whole body. It was devastating to see him so sick.
Three days after my dad’s birthday is the anniversary of the day my brother took his own life. I can’t fully explain the shock of that day. So many questions that would forever be unanswered. So much regret, painfully aware that I had no idea he had felt so lost. So much sadness in realizing he didn’t feel he could confide in me. I cannot share the details of that time, it is just too painful, too personal.
What I will share with you is a question posed by a sweet friend who lost her daughter in the same way: “Do you feel God has shown you anything in this?” I wasn’t sure how to respond at first. I hadn’t really thought about it. I found that when I did, I realized that I needed to look at people in a new way. Beyond the surface. It’s sometimes easier for one to paste a smile on his face to hide the pain that is deep within than it is to be vulnerable and exposed before others. Even as their pain is shared selectively, we have no idea of the depths of another’s suffering. I want to see people as Jesus sees them. To reach out to people as He would. To comfort them and tell them that there is One who wants to bear their every burden, One who loves them so very much, One who can give peace to the troubled soul. And yet I fear this. It’s so much responsibility. I worry. What if I say the wrong thing? What if I just make them feel worse? But then…
What if I can make a difference?
Maybe, maybe not. But He definitely can.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”
~2 Corinthians 1:3,4