On Grief :: By Alice Childs

Oh, those bittersweet reminders of loss that ambush us by accident! It takes a long time for the scab that heals the wound to grow deep enough and wide enough for healing to take place.

There will be many times in the first few weeks and months of grief when the newly forming scab that covers the wound in our hearts will be suddenly ripped away by an unexpected sight, a familiar sound, or the ghost of a remembered scent. Instantly, and seemingly from nowhere, something unanticipated and sudden arrives which haunts us with a piece of the past so real and poignant that our beginning-to-heal souls break open again, and fresh sorrow pours forth like water from a broken pitcher, blood from an open wound.

Sometimes there comes, unbidden and unexpected, a memory of something intangible that is all of a sudden so inexorably THERE that it stops the breath in the throat as the heart falters for a second. In that instant, just before the heart can fan into a flame, the tiny spark of hope that cries “maybe, just maybe, it was all a mistake, that there really was no loss at all,” that is when the mind steps in and reins in the ever hopeful heart with the harsh reality that says, “No. It is not who you think, not what you so desperately want.”

At those most embattled times, the mind steps in and does what the heart cannot bear to do – face the truth – and thus, with the cold hard slap of bitter honesty, wrecks the tiny stirring of hope that the heart so desperately wishes to embrace.

The human heart was never meant to bear such intense loss and pain forever. For those of us who belong to our loving Heavenly Father, we know that, by His grace and mercy, even the most dreadful wounds do heal, although gradually and over time, and always from the inside out.

Eventually, over even our deepest pain, a permanent scab will form, until one day we realize that the scab, once a seemingly permanent part of our hearts, is finally gone. Eventually, we find that our Merciful Father, in His own way and in His own timing, has stitched and mended the ragged edges of our wounded hearts back together again, that the ugly scab has finally fallen off of its own accord once the healing is complete.

Oh, for sure there will always be a scar. That scar on the heart will remain as a lasting tribute to the one who was so well loved that their passing has forever branded it there.

Oh, how Jesus most tenderly dresses and sutures the wounds of our hearts. How gently and lovingly He mends the tears and scars of our souls; for He Himself wears forever on His body the marks of those precious scars He earned on Calvary where He branded His love for us for all eternity.

Our Father knows our hurts. He knows our weaknesses. He “holds our tears in a bottle,” and He is “touched with the feelings of our infirmities.” He sees. He knows. He understands. Therein lies our peace, our rest, and our eventual healing.

Though the cut right now is deep, in time there will come peace; but until then, the wounded heart still bleeds.