Sunday, March 4, 2007

A Grief Observed

Last Monday, with another trip to the hospital, my father in-law was given "hours, days, or maybe weeks" to live. Two months seem such a luxury in comparison with the constant spectre of death that now looms.

In this context I read A Grief Observed, by C.S. Lewis. This is a very personal book of his reflections after his wife died. His questions and wanderings are so honest and sincere...and painful.

He asks about what really happens to our loved ones who die. If they are to go to a place where they are happy, does that mean they don't miss us? If they are happy all of the time...that would be quite a transition. What exactly happens? Where are they?

He also asks the age old question of why suffering and pain exist. Is God loving and good? How does a loving and good God allow so much suffering? How different is it to trust in a God, when you know very well He will allow suffering and pain. This is a challenge. In the Problem of Pain, C. S. Lewis detailed very thoroughly why there is pain...simply put if we are capable of loving and feeling love we must also be capable of hurting and feeling pain. That book is so neat and philosophical, so long as you yourself, or a loved one is not in pain. A Grief Observed is just that...pain and how the knowledge of how great pain we can feel changes how we feel about God.

For whatever reason depression and pain separate us from God, yet can also bring us closer to God. In the moment of the depression or pain no matter how close God really is, the person can seldom feel God's love. I remember saying to myself in the midst of ppd "I know God said He will bless me...I am therefore being blessed whether I know it or not." or "this is happiness whether I feel it or not" or "around me there is evidence of the Holy Spirit, so it is here, I just can't feel it."

I don't know why there is so much pain, or how God stands it. It doesn't make sense to me that there are no tears in the very least God would be crying.
I've often wondered if Go felt somehow separated from Jesus when Jesus was born to Mary. Did god also feel reunited to Christ by his death on the cross? Were there really no tears or sorrow at either of those moments?

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