When All the Touchstones are Gone

A month ago my Dad died.

Almost 2 weeks ago we moved my Mom, who deals with dementia,  into a seniors’ residence.

Now we are beginning the lengthy process of tidying up and cleaning out the family home of 64 years.

Most days I feel like I’m dealing with all these life changes pretty well. Other times, like last night… not so much.

Last evening the grief and profound sense of loss snuck up on me again. It caught me off guard. It silently crept up from behind. Out of nowhere, it welled up within me like the gush of a geyser and spilled out with sobs and tears. I just felt so sad.

I feel like in the last month I’ve lost not only my Dad, but my Mom as well, and my childhood home on top of that – some “touchstones” I thought would always be there … but now they’re gone.

At times the grief washes over me like a powerful ocean wave. There’s nothing I can do except ride it out. It leaves me drenched, and weak, and breathless in its wake.

When I come up for air, when I’m in the trough between assaults, I can rest for a little while, treading water.  My eyes scan the horizon trying to guess when the next wave will appear. But there are no clues. It’s unpredictable.

This is when I realize, again, that something awesome and rationally inexplicable has happened. I look and see that through the swirling tide, while I thought I was holding tight to Jesus, in fact, He had hold of me.

Lord, I thank you that You have not left me helpless or hopeless. Thank you that You are the Rock beneath me – solid and always trustworthy. You are my Anchor, my Guide, my Comfort, my Deliverer. You are my Redeemer, my Peace, my Hope.

The poet T.S.Eliot called Christ “the still point in a turning world”.  Thank you, Jesus, that You are with me to keep me safe and secure when turmoil and change rages without and within.

The disciple Peter got out of the boat voluntarily in the Bible story (Matthew 14:29).

This time, I was pushed out of my boat. But I am certain that, like Peter, if I keep my eyes on Jesus, I can walk through this storm to safety. When my heart fails me and I am overwhelmed, Jesus is my strength. “God is greater than our hearts, and He knows everything.” (1 John 3:20).

Years ago a good friend gave me a wall plaque that has encouraged me many times. I went to look at it in our guest room again this morning.

When you go through deep waters,
    I will be with you.
When you go through rivers of difficulty,
    you will not drown.
When you walk through the fire of oppression,
    you will not be burned up;
    the flames will not consume you. (Isaiah 43:2)

I know these words are truth in my life. I pray they are for you as well.

When all the touchstones in this life are gone, there is One that remains till the end.


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