I Shall Go To Him

I’ve seen grief up close and personal. Like most people, I’ve experienced it, too. It’s heavy, and although there are times a person feels “fine,” something can come out of the blue and conjure up those dark feelings. Where can a person turn for peace?

Yesterday morning before attending a visitation for a church member, I read a chapter in Good Book by David Plotz, a random reading choice. Or was it? It just so happened that I read the author’s commentary on King David’s behavior after the death of his infant son. Before the baby died, David “weeps, fasts, and pleads with God to spare the child.” After the boy dies, David “prays, then returns home, and promptly sits down for a big meal, his first in a week.”

On the surface, David’s behavior seems callous. His feelings seemingly have taken a 180-degree turn. But when his servants ask how he could now be eating so heartily (my word) after the weeping and fasting of the week before, David responds with conviction and certainty that fasting will not bring the boy back. While the child lived, the king had hope that fasting, weeping, and pleading might persuade God to spare the little one’s life. 

“But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.” 2 Samuel 12:23

I’m holding on to that thought. 

Is it coincidental that I came across that forgotten situation an hour before seeing grief up close and personal? I don’t know. I was glad to be able to share it with my friend. No matter how much weeping, wailing, gnashing of teeth, pleading, or railing against the powers that be, nothing can bring back our lost loves. But we can go to them.

P.S. No stranger to grief, my husband lost one of his sons six years ago, and I often say something like, “Every day you live brings you closer to the time you’ll see him again.” I think that thought comforts him.

And I hope it comforts you. “I shall go to him.”

Caught Between Generations

mamadaddy

I spent some time visiting cemeteries today. I’ve often excused my absence there by saying, “My parents aren’t really there. Their spirits live elsewhere. In fact, I can sense their presence quite often.”

Still, I needed to go. I was somehow compelled to go. I parked in the church parking lot and ate a couple of Chick fil-A nuggets before summoning the nerve to get out of the car. I hadn’t been in a while and was feeling ill-at-ease.

“What’s wrong with you, Jaynie?” My mother often called me that, and I could almost hear her asking me that question. Not wanting to disappoint her, I got out and walked to the gate. I pushed it open and headed right. Seconds later, I was staring at my parents’ headstones. Their names and birth and death dates were clearly etched on them. I stared at them for a few moments, incredulous that it had been over 15 years since I’d heard my father’s voice. I can still hear him saying, “Never better,” whenever anyone would ask him how he felt. That response always struck me as strange because he had emphysema and died of COPD. Breathing was a challenge, a scary and painful one (I think).

The main thing that struck me while standing there, however, was how names and dates reveal so little about what a person was really like. She could sing so beautifully. She could dance too. And she was a little zany at times. She was a real lady, and I loved her so much. So did my children. Even now, it’s Granny, Granny, Granny. What about me??? And my father had this cool walk. He sort of loped along in a casual stride, and my son walks the same way. Gulp.

Before I get too carried away, let’s move on.

I then went to another cemetery about seven or eight miles from the first one. My little grandson is resting there beside his great-grandfather, and I needed to see his stone today. His mama, my daughter Carrie, celebrates Spencer’s birth on December 8th of each year, and I wanted to let him know that he hasn’t been forgotten. I think the little angel healed a lot of family wounds. Maybe that was the purpose of his brief mission.

I’ve always loved my son-in-law, but the day that he told me they wanted to bury Spencer in Camden marks the day that I fell even harder for the guy.  He said he knew that there would always be family in Camden, and thus a reason for coming back here to bring Spencer’s younger brothers and sisters to visit his grave. What hope. What optimism. What faith. My daughter had already had two miscarriages and a stillborn child. And yet, Rich was confident that little Spencer would have younger siblings.

And Rich was right. I remember his statement every year when I go with Carrie, Rich, and their five children to pay Spencer a visit.

It was a day of connecting with family. Whether still walking the earth or abiding in holier habitations, people continue to affect each other. Caught between generations, my mind awash with memories, I again marveled at the web of connections.