Grief evolves in subtle and arbitrary ways.
What began as paralyzing intensity slowly subsides and becomes a subdued but constant presence. Sadness continues to weigh me down, but it no longer threatens to drown me at every moment. I now endure days, even weeks, without weeping or being crippled by anger and anxiety. Sorrow still maintains the ability to immobilize me at times. But now it allows forward movement in a way that deceives those around me to think that things must be getting “better”. A semblance of normalcy has returned. Laughter and enjoyment are not only possible, but they’re becoming free of the guilt that once burdened every positive experience. Life no longer feels like mere survival.
I know that this shift is necessary, as debilitating despair is impractical and unsustainable. But I prefer the darker days of my grief.
Although they were unbearably agonizing, at least there was consistency between my soul and the surface. But now I’m strained between these two realities of normal activity and hidden sorrow. My wife’s pain still troubles me. Our son – all he was and all he never got to be – is continually on my mind. I still ache from the trauma of his death and the fallout of our unanswered prayers. I continue to swing between silent resignation and restrained accusation before the Lord. Confidence about the future is impossible because I can’t overcome the horror of the past, so I wander around aimlessly in the present.
Underneath the routines, the misery remains. The edges of grief may be softening, but this landscape is no less wild than before.
So in this wilderness riddled with tension and uncertainty, I do what seems to be my only option: “Wait for the Lord.”
I wish I could say my waiting is marked by faith-filled anticipation and joyful hope. But it’s not. It’s nothing to admire or emulate. It’s imperfect and messy, full of confusion, weakness, and doubt.
But this I know: sufferers and wanderers are encouraged to wait with the expectation that our gracious and sovereign God will not hide his face forever. He will act and he will restore. How? When? If only I knew. So I wait.