Monday, December 5, 2011

"Let not sorrow overwhelm us..."

You’d think the departures would become easier the more of them one goes through. And, no, this morning wasn’t as traumatic as that awful day a year and a half ago when the caravan left the driveway the first time, carrying away a daughter and her family. No, this time I made it through all the prayers without breaking down, waved them goodbye into the early-morning dark without tears, and only had to stay up an extra hour after they left so I could get good and tired. I thought I’d succeeded.

However, when I finally did wend my way upstairs, I decided to peek into that now-empty bedroom, possibly to convince myself of the transition. At the moment that thought entered my mind, a shock went through my core that felt just like someone punched me in the chest. The same panicky sensation that had so suddenly ambushed me that first time returned again. And I turned back down the hallway so I could catch my breath and wait for my heart to start beating normally again.

It seemed a good time to pray, so I did. “Please, Father, help me deal with this.” Then came the words through my mind, an extension to the prayer: “Let not sorrow overwhelm us...” But it came without music, as a simple fragment. It wasn’t until much later that my brain finally retrieved the melody, which then—after humming through the cycle—revealed the title line.

“Precious Savior, Dear Redeemer”—how grateful for the assurance that there is Someone infinite who cares that I am hurting and will send peace if requested and waited upon. It came, the pain lifted, and calm overrode the emotional chaos. But it took some self-reminders that there were still reasons to want to stay around, work to do, people to serve, things I needed to accomplish.

So tomorrow will begin again the more normal routine. I will be able to work all morning without a daughter/granddaughter break. The dishwasher will resume its twice-a-week (maybe even less frequent) running schedule. We might even lower the thermostat a degree or two since we won’t have any more “nakey babies” in the house. But even with all these changes, it will be a while before I stop wishing we had reasons not to make them.

“We are weak, but Thou art strong...” Nevertheless, sitting here waiting for the meeting to start and hearing the children’s voices as they enter the chapel, the sorrow has been put in its place one more time. We’re moving forward again.