This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24, NLT
A line of a song, sung by Bill Gaither, drifted into my consciousness this morning and it has a line that goes something like this: yesterday’s gone and tomorrow may never come, but we have these moments today. You may not be at a place in your grief journey where you can think about tomorrow and I certainly understand, for I have been there too. So if you want to save this to read when you are farther along, please do.
It seems our lives are made up of yesterday’s decisions and tomorrow’s dreams. If you have been forced to bury one of your children, then you know the deep longing to have them back in your life. I know this longing first hand. We suffer long into the night with the pain that death brings. I know how difficult it is to even take steps into the next day, next week, next month, when the death is by suicide. I’ve been where you are and I also have taken steps into many tomorrows and I can tell you that you will too. We are survivors. We will take as many steps into as many tomorrows until we meet our children again and hug them tightly to our breast.
Most probably the line from the song above refers to making the most of today. This twenty-four hour period of time may seem daunting. How to live it? What shall go in it? Will I stay in bed? Will I push myself to go to work? What does it look like to you? We no longer have yesterday’s hours. We can’t return and live them again, swapping out wasted time or change out harsh words for something sweeter. Yesterday is recorded in the annals of history and in the records above. And tomorrow is not promised. It is no more promised to those of us who remain than it was promised to our beloved, buried children. Does that seem harsh? I don’t mean it to be so. My goal is to speak truth in love.
I have been in the trenches of grief longer than many of you who are reading this, but if you have been in here with me for years, then you probably understand that time gives us perspective. We’ve exhausted ourselves asking “why” questions. We no longer are swamped with comments from people within our circle who have long since returned to their own rat race. We’ve had enough practice fielding answers to unwanted questions so as to artfully dodge what we consider none of anyone’s business. Sound familiar?
Perhaps the lines to the song above came from a quote by Mother Teresa: “Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not come yet. We have only today. Let us begin.” Is it intended to inspire us to make this day our best day? I think so. There is wisdom in this challenge. No doubt it means to treat others as we wish to be treated. Maybe it means to live in a way that honors the one (s) we are outliving. In the New Testament, there is a list of suggestions in case we are low on ideas and need a jump start. They are called fruits of the spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). Wow. This is a robust to-do list, or bucket list if you prefer. Fortunately I am not expected to add them all at one time, but I can work to integrate each one into my character building. It’s a process that doesn’t happen overnight and will involve many tomorrows. But since this list is with God’s blessing, I suspect He knows that incorporating them will help in the healing process.
I know that one of my first desires in my grief journey, was to experience peace. Let’s suppose God is writing us a love letter about peace. Maybe it would read something like this: “My Dear Children, the only peace you will ever have is in Me. This world does not offer peace ~ though it promises you many things. Some things are good, but most lead your mind far away from truth, and from Me. Please lean on Me. You will never be too heavy for Me to hold. I have much to teach you, to share with you, so you will be strengthened for troublesome times ahead. Yes, many will cry ‘peace and safety’ from now until I return, but don’t be misled. I alone am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. And it is in these three that you will find the fruit of perfect peace.”
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:34, NIV
Prayer quoted from, “Shattered by Suicide, My Conversations with God After the Tragic Death of My Son” by Gracie Thompson, p. 163-164