So, it's Sunday AM, Labor Day weekend. I went for a walk with my sweet wife around our neighborhood a little while ago. We talked and power-walked. And eventually I got around to telling her I was angry, like you do. And then I explained to her circuitously, why.
Except for at the end of our walk as we were beginning our gradual descent into our cul-de-sac I burst into tears and said, "Of course, today is the anniversary of Pop's death, so maybe it's that."
Being angry, people who know tell me, means dealing with your hurt alone.
I'd seen the date when I glanced at an email. Some years it hits harder than others.
After my momma died, Pop and I mostly had us. We worked together and found ways to avoid missing her together. He taught me the commercial real estate ropes and told me all his CRE skeleton stories. We had this conspiratorial glance in certain rooms that always made me feel so special--because we knew exactly what we were thinking without saying a word and no one else did. That look has informed my relationship with Jesus: His eyes find me.
He's a there-you-are Friend to the end.
For a long time, Padre was almost always the last person I talked to and his call would wake me up, no matter how hard the night before had landed me.
Yesterday, here, back in 2016, we had this great four generations of York (Christine's maiden name) family reunion out at the York family farm complete with horseshoes and fried chicken.
Oodles of fantastic family-come-home-from-where-they-are-now fun complete with a new baby and a new engagement. An absolute ball.
And it touched me, because Meggison multi-generation family reunions are a little short of Meggisons. Last century was like this slow whittling away of our elders and all of a sudden, my sisters and I were our elders.
And of course
Sometimes I tell my wife things that aren't really true, but they are what I feel and sort of believe until I hear them out loud and then they don't have that authenticity ring--they're just me digging around in the dirt, mining for truth. So, I owned my misdirected pain and she was gracious and a really remarkable comfort..just sitting with me.
People who know tell me comfort doesn't fix: it says I see and I care.
As Christine and I were finishing up on the front steps and as I was wiping good-cry leakage away with my sleeve, I had a picture of the thin place between heavenly-mindedness and what I'm tempted to think and "1998 - Unwept Tears" appeared in my heart/imaginatarium. I don't know why, yet; but that's what I saw. I know that's the summer our Matriarch, my Grandma Meggison died but that's all I've really caught so far. Of course, if was just a few minutes ago.
So, today (writing this September 4, before church and we are not going to be early): twenty-four years ago, when I was twenty-three years old my dad died. He was fifty-three.
I'm just six years shy of how old he was when he went Home. And I want to take a minute to address what I've discovered is a popular lie aimed at the hearts of kids who lost their parents early: there is no predisposition that says their age is your expiration date. The enemy is looking for agreement. Remember, he comes to steal, kill and destroy; but God says: Draw near to me and I will draw near to you. Resist the devil and he will flee.
As we came back inside after my face-dam burst, Christine does a Face-peek and says, "Look at what Lisa (my sister) posted 14 minutes ago:
Psalm 90:12 says, "So, teach us to number our days that we may incline our hearts unto wisdom."
Back in 1992, September 3, I found myself in the C.I.C.U. with a male nurse who was fishing the gunk out of Pop's lungs and he said to me as I watched on the monitor, "Are you ok to be in here?"
I said, "I've logged more hours in hospitals than most interns."
He said, "Would you look at that."
And he pointed to the screen, where his probe was digging around for lung-junk. He was pointing at my dad's heart.
And he said, "That's the biggest heart I've ever seen."
That's my inheritance and our Father couldn't have given us a greater gift or a sweeter picture of promise.
Years later, standing in front of our congregation at Hope, I shared that story and He pieced it together for me like He does.
I was standing in the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit, the C.I.C.U. and I heard Him say,
"See? I see YOU!"
Part of me is convinced that nurse was an angel and for sure he was at least in this way: angel means "messenger".
Gang: it is not only ok to grieve; it is a must. Pain is buried alive and it will find all kinds of inappropriate ways to get out. I believe it is actually the hidden-most part of what is bothering a lot of us: our un-grieved losses. We need to grieve with those who grieve or our rejoicings just aren't as sweet.
As my best friend Jorgie often reminds me, "There sure are a lot of unwept tears out there." I think it was Jon Courson who said when a tear dries it does so in the shape of the cross.
So let them come; they are cleansing.
Two words, the shortest phrase in Scripture reminds us: Jesus wept.