I was there that day too. Small, scared, confused. But I acted like I was fine because that is what I am supposed to do. "Everything's fine, everything's ok, I'm ok, I'm ok." My chant, my song, my ease. That is what they want to hear, it is better this way. I'm a child, why would I know any different? The fact is, I do. The pain came first when I heard what happened. News, talk of hushed voices, ones that hoped I wouldn't hear, but I did. I heard it through what I saw. I heard it when I looked at faces, the people who looked at me differently as though they wished they could take away my new reality. God where are you? Did You see me?
She began to fade. Her scent, her clothes, her face even. I acted angry. I hit things. I even screamed bad words. Words I only knew from TV. I couldn't control what had been done. I couldn't control what I didn't know. "I didn't know. I don't know." Who did? Did anyone? What is wrong with me?
Maybe if I acted like I was fine, the way I am supposed to, it will be ok. Must we be taught to be real? Must we be explained how to mourn? How would I know when I feel wrong for crying? "Crying wont change it, crying wont bring her back, stop crying, stop feeling." How do I know what to do? Could you teach me? Could you show me?
It's ok to cry hear. It's ok to be confused here. They don't have answers, but they feel the same things too sometimes. I'm sad. I'm confused. Will this feeling go away? Do I want it to? If it does, does it mean that I have forgotten? That I don't love her anymore?
Please show me how to do this. Show me. Guide me, because I don't know. I'm too small. I'm too scared. I'm too confused. What is real? What is a lie? What becomes of death? What becomes of pain? The pain I feel will never go away. Will it become something else? Will it become easier? What it is that we so feel that never leaves us even through death?
I cried. I shook. I bowed my head, and You answered.
You said the answer to that is "Love."
*Gracey and I attended Camp Courage with the PET therapy team. We were able to minister to children who have faced the death of a loved one. During the evening service, I was blessed to witness raw emotions as the children lit candles in memory of the person they lost. I felt the questioning of a little girl who lost her mother. I watched her face and saw her struggle as she slowly walked up the aisle and pinned her mother's photo on a massive heart to symbolize she will always be a part of her. She lit the candle through blurring tears running down her face, and quietly sat down with her head bowed. This is her dialogue of the heart, a child's sorrow.
Having experienced loss, I felt like I wanted to take all those kids pain on myself. It is just too much for someone so young to feel. In my grief I could barely make sense of all I hurt about. To watch children have to go through something so terrible while not understanding what they feel makes my heart break. Yet children are so strong. It was an honor and privilege to see the courage of these kids. They seek answers and look to us to try and make sense of their world and pain. And it is our duty to show them that love is stronger than death. Jesus' love has given us hope, and hope in the Lord is never put to shame. (Romans 10:11) But hope doesn't mean we forget, or dismiss, or get over the people who shape who we are.
I was thankful to be in that chapel that evening with Gracey passed out from all her work that day. God showed me an aspect of His tenderness and I pray He will allow me to use this awareness for His glory.