I don’t’ remember another time in my life when extreme joy and profound sadness occupied my heart and soul simultaneously with such intensity. I have known my share of grief in life. My first experience with the death of someone I cared about came in my teens. As the years have passed and I have lost other people in my life to death, I find that grief seems to multiply and that each new reason to grieve seems to resurrect all the others.
This time my grief is because I lost a friend, someone very dear to me. But death did not claim this friend. The relationship ended for the reason many relationships end, the evil one, Satan, found a way to use his lies to destroy what was once a loving, caring, fun friendship. Because we were not only friends, but sisters in Christ, I believed this one would last forever. The friendship had survived so many ups and downs across better than a decade and a half. The pain I feel has no words I know how to express and my heart is broken. Right now it feels like it will hurt forever.
At the same time I approach a new freedom, a dream come true, a totally new adventure. I will retire at the end of this year and I am filled with such joy, such peace, such hope. I count down the days and as the time gets closer my excitement grows. I find myself giddy over the prospect of no longer having to work.
If all of that were not enough I am experiencing God’s transforming power in ways that are filling me with awe. I feel God’s presence and power working in me, guiding, providing. I truly believe that my best years are yet to come. I know that he has a purpose and a plan for my life and I wait with great anticipation to discover what it is.
There are moments when my heart is filled with joy and wonder. In those moments I cannot keep from smiling and my eyes shine bright with the excitement I feel. There are other moments when my heart is heavy with grief and sorrow. At those times I cannot keep the tears from falling and it feels like my heart will never be able to withstand the depth of this pain. But what has left me in awe of this God, this creator of mine, is that there are moments when my heart holds both in equal measure, when I feel both the depth of sorrow and the height of joy and I cannot figure out whether to laugh or cry. I do not understand how that can happen but it leaves me in awe of the one who created me. I know that both of those emotions are real. I know that he catches every tear I cry. I know that he already knows what the future holds and I know He is in control.
So I embrace the pain as I embrace the joy. I give thanks for all He is doing in my world and I face the future with hope. For the first time in my life the past is not a chain and the future looks bright. But I still miss my friend.