By Jennifer Smith
I just came home from spending a few days at the beach. It is an odd time for me to be there, since usually I am there in the middle of the summer and not at the very end. It was quiet there, almost too quiet at times, which led me to time alone with my thoughts.
So here are some of my ramblings. I thought how we are all experience moments in our lives that change and define us. These moments are unique to us all. The moment could be the day one got married, or the moment one realized a marriage was over. It could be the birth of a child or the loss of one. It could be a graduation, a new job, the day one got fired or the unexpected news of an illness that was not curable. We do our best to control outcomes, but so much in life is out of our control. On the other hand, we also get surprised by unexpected moments of grace.
I was at the beach late this year because the week my family was supposed to go, my father-in-law was in the hospital. “Smitty” was diagnosed in June with lung cancer and unfortunately died in July with complications related to the disease. His wife, kids, kids’ spouses, and grandkids were with him when he took his last breath from his diseased lungs. In that sacred moment we told him how much we loved him and sang him old favorite hymns as he made his way to heaven.
Smitty was a force. His presence filled the room and our family. He was a big man with big hands. He knew how to fix most things. He liked to laugh and watch Georgia football. He loved his kids and grandkids, and while he would do anything for them, he didn’t spoil them with things. He was willing to change some of his ways for the sake of bettering relationships with the people he loved. He was a man of faith and would have stood in front of a bus for his pastor. He would have stood in front of a bus for any of us.
His death has altered me and our family, as most deaths do. As I sat on the beach I thought about his absence and came to no real earth-shattering conclusions, no pithy platitudes and no words of consolation. I was just sad. Sad that he was gone. Sad that I won’t see him again. Sad that my husband and kids are sad. Just sad.
There are moments I think we have to honor the silence of our sadness and live in the hope that God is still God and we get to inherit Gods grace for these moments. The sunrises and moonrises are gifts of God’s grace and they happen everyday, each unique, some outstandingly gorgeous. We are not alone and will never be no matter what our lives bring. God continues to be good.