a time to mourn, and a time to dance
The memory still haunts me.
A narrow hallway.
The only sounds are shuffling feet,
the rubbing of clothing as we walked in a line, like soldiers marching into battle.
My head bows under the strain of grief. My words are futile as I weakly attempt to avoid the inevitable. “No, I can’t do this! I can’t do this!”
Powerless to walk on my own.
My husband holding me up on one side. A pastor on the other.
Why is it called a viewing anyway?
Why do we “view” the body? Isn’t it more like “looking to see if they really are dead”?
That was certainly what I was looking for.
Was it really going to be my brother lying there in that coffin? Would I see a glimpse of the rise and fall of his chest?
What would he look like? How would I react?
Would I see the scar? Would I see the evidence of what he had done to himself?
I didn’t want to see it.
Was I going to lose control? Would I embarrass myself?
I actually had those thoughts.
How could I think that at a time like this? Who cared if I embarrassed myself? People expected me to fall apart.
Concern of my outward appearance penetrated the grief.
Who was I kidding? I couldn’t control my emotions.
The pulsating, golden din of flourescent lights pulled me to him.
Where was he?
Such a large room for one person.
Mirrors? I didn’t need a mirror to see that my face was blotchy red, eyes swollen, nose running.
Along the back wall.
His 6’4″ frame giant-like in the casket. It was him. His mop of curly blonde hair. His deep-set eyes. His glasses. His large and callused cello-playing-hands. I recognized the tux he wore and his bow-tie. He had performed many a concerts in that uniform.
I kept my distance. Never approached his casket. I was afraid to get too close. Afraid of the body lying there. I fought an urge to avert my gaze. I didn’t want to see him that way.
It was him. But, he wasn’t present. His spirit was gone.
No, he wasn’t going to rise up and rejoin his family. No, I didn’t catch a glimpse of the rising and falling of his chest. I tried, I really did. I tried to see life in him. But, life had vanished from his physical shell.
Viewing him in this state confirmed for me the dark reality. He was in fact gone.
I am glad I did. But, it still haunts me.
However, Life was present.
Stacy, at Finding Purpose in the Pain, bravely shares her story of living with chronic pain. Her personal testimony reveals she is seeking Christ through it all. She has gathered a variety of writers together at her blog and has asked us to share our stories of how we are finding purpose in our suffering in hopes that we can provide encouragement to others.
Thank you, Stacy, for the opportunity to share my story of redemption through Christ with a larger audience. I know He will be glorified in this place.
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