Grief is a thin place. A place so thin, it’s hard to tell where earth ends and heaven begins.
Grief is a place so thin that it’s where the living and the dead feel one another’s love.
I’m the Rev. Lisa Hamilton, and I grieve. First, I’ll read a scripture appointed for today. Then I’ll struggle with those words through the lens of grief. I’m glad you’ve joined me.
Today’s scripture is from Matthew chapter seven, verses seven through twelve:
Jesus said, “Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.
“Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for bread, will give a stone? Or if the child asks for a fish, will give a snake? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him!
“In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets.”
When someone I love dies, it’s hard to realize that what I could offer would be as inadequate as a stone is to bread, as a snake is to a fish. But I think that’s what Jesus is saying here. That our love, that our care, is not enough to sustain life.
Jesus, do you really need to throw that in my face? The morning I woke holding Scott’s hand and he did not was a slap of all-my-love –could-not-save-him-from-cancer. The afternoon the neurologist did the tests one more time, opening Ted’s eyes for the last time. The final test was when he ran a tissue over my son’s dark eyes, and there was. No. Response. At All. Those lively eyes were in a long line of Irish hazel eyes. And they were dead. The neurologist looked at me, shook his head, and then disconnected the machine of flat lines. That, Dear Jesus, that was a slap of all-my-mother’s-love-couldn’t-save-my-only-child. That slap shoved me to the ground.
But even in my ditch of grief, I get it. Our love ain’t your love. Our love is finite and flawed. Your love always knows best, always gets the last word, always is for always.
I get it. And I want You to get this: it is the flawed and finite love of others, the unexpected kindness of fellow human beings, the time taken to remember the dead – it may all be earthbound love, but when that flawed and finite love is done unto me, it keeps me breathing. It keeps me hopeful that there is an arc of love bridging this world with the next.
Grief is a thin place.