Religion Magazine

On the Anniversary of a Death

By Marilyngardner5 @marilyngard
On the Anniversary of a Death

Dear Brit,

I woke up thinking about you today. It's not the first time. For someone who doesn't know you that well, it may seem odd.

You entered our lives when Stef went on a gap year. You, Gilly, and Stef - I can just see the three of you taking Milan and YWAM by storm. And then Sicily. And, as if that wasn't enough, the city that has become your city - Istanbul. Since that time you and Stef have kept in touch with each other, and by default, in touch with me.

Will I ever forget the day that Stef phoned me to tell me that your Josh had died? That's how she said it: "Brit's Josh has died." If time stopped for someone like me, who has never met Josh - I can only imagine what it did for you. I filed the event into the album that I call the "unexplainable." It didn't make sense at any level, in any universe. It just didn't make sense.

In a single event, your world changed. Your future changed. Being a mom changed. On that July day, your faith in a good God must have been challenged in ways that I can't comprehend.

And yet - here you are. You did not stop living. You don't ask for pity. You move forward as one enveloped in grace. And I think that's why I think about you every day. Because you are a living example that this faith so many pay lip service to, this faith in God and belief in redemption is a living, breathing entity. You live every day with the hope of resurrection, and you teach all of us to do the same. Thank you for showing me what it is to take your grief to those blistered, scarred, feet of Jesus. Thank you for grieving with so much grace.

Words will never be enough to communicate what I feel about all of this. But if anyone's can, then it is Frederick Buechner:

"The grace of God means something like: Here is your life. You might never have been, but you are because the party wouldn't have been complete without you. Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid. I am with you. Nothing can ever separate us. It's for you I created the universe. I love you. There's only one catch. Like any other gift, the gift of grace can be yours only if you'll reach out and take it. Maybe being able to reach out and take it is a gift too."

Thank you for showing us what it is to reach out and take that gift. May grace surround you today in ways that surprise and delight.

"Life is grace. Sleep is forgiveness. The night absolves. Darkness wipes the slate clean, not spotless to be sure, but clean enough for another day's chalking."
Frederick Buechner, The Alphabet of Grace

Related posts: An Album for the Unexplainable

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