Wednesday, September 1, 2010

put on a happy face



I don't like pain, of any kind. I don't go looking to suffer. Yet pain comes to us all. It has been coming to a lot of us, lately. Illness, broken relationships, even death, that last, great, enemy. And even though we, as believers, have hope beyond death, there is still that heartwrenching grief, that longing for the one who has slipped away into eternity before us.

I miss my dad. I miss his lovely, deep voice, the way he smelled of tobacco and shave cream, the way he would chuckle, suddenly, delightedly, at one of my quips. I miss his fierce protectiveness when one of his kids was in trouble. I miss his Irish eloquence. He's been gone for fourteen years, and I still miss him.

I have a friend whose son died, less than a year ago. He was only twelve. His family knows without doubt they will see him again. They believe he is alive, now, in heaven, in the place Jesus prepared especially for him. Yet they still grieve. They miss him. And it's hard. Really hard.

And sometimes, well-meaning folks tell them to "put on a happy face." Maybe these folks are impatient for the grieving process to be over. Maybe they are uncomfortable with the face of suffering.

But suffering has a hidden grace. Because when we have lived through its fires, we can recognize the scorch marks on another's face. And we don't ask them to "put on a happy." We weep with them. For as long as it takes.


"Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep." Romans 12:15


(joining hands with emily for imperfect prose, today)


20 comments:

Kim Hyland said...

"suffering has a hidden grace" I wrestle with fibromyalgia, and this week we've been hitting the mat! Thank you for your encouragement. It makes me want to find the treasure here.

Brian Miller said...

we weep with them...yes...i think we can see the scorch marks if we look before we open our mouth...nice.

Dianne said...

Yes... though often we grieve alone, we grieve together as those who have suffered loss. We each bear our pain in our own way... and we can recognize it in others... I miss my mom dearly, she will have been gone 16 years in 8 days... I still expect to hear her voice when I answer the phone... but I know I will see her again...

Misty said...

this is so touching. i have been spared the pain of lost loved ones, but i know it's only a matter of time. my husband on the other hand has seen too much and has come to cringe at every pat epithet proffered. he would have been honored to meet someone who recognized his own scorch marks and wept with him.

Lauri said...

pain is finger pointing to heaven...it is a reminder that something has gone horribly wrong at the base of our existence here, but in hope it points to the One who promises to make all things new. Thank you for this reminder to not ignore the hidden grace of suffering

Wandering On Purpose said...

Oh - your last paragraph is so true! The scorch marks that come from all sorts of loss and pain and hurt and betrayal.

ELK said...

it is the hidden grace that curls around my heart today

rebecca said...

"We weep with them. For as long as it takes...."

music to my heart.

Francesca said...

so true. because of my own scorch marks, I weep with those who weep.

emily wierenga said...

you know, when i wrote my post today, i had you in my mind the whole time, and i know it was God writing through me to you, and to others who understand hurt, and it's for this reason he lets us go through trials so we might be Him to others. you do this so well, dear leslie. love to you. xo

joanny said...

This is a very interesting post -- just last Sunday we had a discussion about allowing others to grieve, and not rob them of the process. Some folks got it and some folks did not understand. Maybe we need to hold their hands in compassion till they understand.


"Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep." Romans 12:

Joanny

Carrie Burtt said...

Leslie this is such a wonderful and powerful message that so many need to read. The last lines say it all! Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful message! God bless you! :-)

keLi said...

yes, to this. yes and yes. this verse is etched in my mind right now; i am writing it daily on my skin. thank you for capturing it so well here.

Melanie said...

You know, Leslie, the picture of Emily is exactly how I feel I look when I am tempted to force the happy for the sake of those who would hurry me.
Thanks, friend.

Claudia said...

yes - it's so good if we weep with them…just been reading job this last week and had to think about his friends, who came and sat next to him and wept with him - at least for a while

Rachel said...

Grieving is such and important process and the Bible talks a lot about it! Such a great scripture you quoted Romans 12:15 It is so important to weep with others. Thank~You for the reminder!

Wild Rose said...

Wonderful wonderful post and i like that photo perfect for it so keeping a happy face even when things aren't that great. Came via Emily's blog :)

B. Meandering said...

"Suffering has a hidden grace. . ."--so true, my friend, as you and I both know. This was right on target---it was beautiful, honest, and heart-felt--well-done.

deb said...

this pierced me through.
I do not stop the missing, the grieving.
I don't understand the ones who say ... oh haven't you moved on.

TALON said...

This was so lyrical and honest.
Grief is such a personal process with no time frame...and for some it seems too hard to bear the pain they see in their friends and family.