This Wednesday would have been nine years, fourteen really if you consider how long we knew we wanted to get married. I'm at the Stallings' family farm, near where Emmett is laid to rest. I went to see the sod they laid on his gravesite that is carefully watered by the loving hands of his grandmother almost every day, and I continue to be surprised at the new layers of grief that open with no apparent end in sight.
I am learning that grief is unique in its power to completely unhinge your sanity. I remember accounts I have read of child soldiers in Africa, sexual assault victims, children in poverty, and they begin to make more sense as I explore my own grief. But then I think of so many other sources of grief, closer to home perhaps, divorce, depression, unfulfilled desires, and I know that these are just as powerful to wreak havoc on the soul, just as vast in their ability to overwhelm us with grief, just as capable of driving us completely mad.
And so I find the image of being held in the arms of Christ quite appropriate for my prayer life right now, both as personal and intercessory prayer. I was reminded of a song by Phil Wickham, "Safe" that seems entirely appropriate for my life right now. As I listen to it on repeat, I am beginning to discover two blessings of the Lord. First, a persistent, gnawing hunger for heaven that I can see driving out the desire for sin and the fleeting pleasures it brings. Never have I felt the hollowness of sin like I have these past weeks and understood what it means to throw off that which ensnares us. Second, a growing knowledge of what it means to be loved by Christ, realizing how little I know of his love, and how much I long to know him more. These are the blessings in the pain, the tiny threads that keeps me tethered to my sanity, the arms that keep me safe.