We are now two weeks into spring. Someone forgot to tell the weather. We have had several snow storms with, perhaps, more on the horizon. Today, the grey air holds a fine snow being blown furiously about by the seemingly never-ending wind. The dreariness of the day echoes my mood.
This day would have been my brother’s forty-eighth birthday. Eight years ago we lost him. He ended his own life and we were left confused and grief-stricken.
Recently, one of my brother’s longtime buddies sent me a friend request on Facebook. As a kid, I saw a lot of this guy around our house. Funny…when you’re young, you really only tend to focus on yourself, your own life. The people who surround you are taken for granted. Family. Friends. Your family’s friends. Neighbours. Though these people are an integral part of your life, even if in an off-hand-kinda-way, you just don’t think about how life would have been different without them.
Most of the time I didn’t think much about what my brother was doing. His interests took him one way and mine another. Well, that’s not entirely true. I spent many an afternoon at the local arena while my brother played hockey–at least until I was able to stay home alone, then I would be found hanging out with my friends or, later, working at Woolworth’s in the bakery, then at Zeller’s or babysitting.
This friend sent me some photos from their hockey days. (Many of my brother’s friends were on the team.). My brother is the cute one in the front row on the left, the assistant captain. He was always small, but fast and wiry.
I enjoyed those days at the rink, my brother playing, my dad coaching and my mom and I cheering them on, chatting with friends and drinking terrible vending machine hot chocolate.
These guys were fixtures around the house, too. You get used to seeing them. It turns out, though, that once I got married, I would rarely see them. And the last time was at my brother’s funeral.
I now understand that life is fleeting. These ones you assume will always be around, won’t be. My brother left this world at a young age. My dad was also relatively young when he passed away. Each day with those you love is a gift. Why do we treat these times with such a blasé manner? Take the time to hug your loved ones today. Send them a note to say you love them. Make sure they know. It may be the last opportunity you have.
I also know that while grief is natural and a process in itself, I do not need to bear the burden alone. I belong to One who “has borne [my] griefs and carried [my] sorrows” (Isaiah 53:4). I am grateful that when I am weak, He is strong. I can mourn. I can cry. I can know that He sees my pain. He “puts my tears into [His] bottle” (Psalm 56:8). He desires “To console…To give [us] beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness…that He may be glorified.”
I am not alone. I am holding on to Him.
You are not alone. You who are grieving, or wounded, or weary. You are not alone. Lay your burdens at the feet of Jesus. Come as you are. Hold on to Him.
Do you want to know Him? Go here.