Synonyms: constant, continual, continuous, incessant, nonstop, persistent, , never-ending, unabating, interminable, unceasing, endless, unending, unremitting, unrelenting.
I’ve had this word on my mind quite a lot lately. It’s a beautifully versatile adjective that can be used to describe so many things (my favorite kind of word!) But tonight, it isn’t so much my friend….it speaks of the nagging waves of sorrow and loss that seem to creep up on me when I least expect them. Unlike ocean tides that can be somewhat predicted – prepared for, these waves crash from behind, sweeping my feet – and my heart from the solid ground I’m beginning to find.
It’s been just over seven months – 29 weeks – since my son left this earth, and our family of four was suddenly three. People often ask how we are doing, and I usually say, “We’re doing OK….I think….yeh, we’re doing OK.” I don’t have anything to compare it to, so I can’t be sure, but I do think we’re doing as well as we can. We are getting up each day. We are going to work and church. I just bought a new vacuum cleaner. We are watching lots of movies. We laugh. We try new recipes. We talk about Brett. And we cry a lot. His place as the fourth in our family is still so very freshly vacant. We want to share every joke and movie with him (we always had lengthy post-movie discussions, unless it was about time travel – then it would make my head spin and I’d have to leave!) We still don’t quite know how to imagine this new way of being family. A few nights ago, completely out of habit, I pulled out four forks when setting the table…..I know it’s going to take time.
But still permeating every moment of every day is this deep, insistent sorrow that seems to lurk behind even the joyful moments. I can be doing just fine – memories feel kind and wistful and I feel stronger and resilient, then….crash….out of nowhere from behind a memory, a song, a picture…..it can be anything or even nothing at all, and the wave takes me down in a familiar pull of disbelief that he’s really gone…..It can happen once a day, many times a day…..all day.
But there is another way I find myself using this word of late as well. I was describing some friends of ours the other day and how blessed I felt that they hadn’t given up on us. For months after losing Brett, I rarely returned a single call or text – it simply took too much energy to think of what to say – but they kept reaching out anyway. Then when we finally accepted an invitation to go out again, though I know we were lousy company – they continued to invite us, making it perfectly clear they weren’t going anywhere. They loved us and they stuck (and continue to stick) by us with relentless friendship. And there are many other people who regularly call, text, send cards and messages of love, to remind us they are lifting us in prayer and haven’t forgotten our sorrow. We are well aware we aren’t pulling our weight in these relationships just now….it’s definitely more take than give….but I am moved by the relentless manner that we are being cared for – truly a gift among the ashes.
My faith has been challenged, tested, evaluated and examined every which way. I’ve begun prayers I could not finish. I’ve started songs I couldn’t sing. I’ve wondered what my life of service to the One who has been my all in all and my every hope has been about. You might be hard pressed to think of a question I haven’t asked God, and do you know what I’m left with? Relentless love.
God doesn’t seem a bit put off or surprised by my confusion or my fury. On the contrary, He patiently lets me kick and scream and flail about until, totally spent, I collapse into His arms, where He’s been all along. He isn’t going anywhere. Because I know that….finally truly know that….I can walk this road of sorrow, for as long as it takes.
Perhaps you’re facing your own personal storm these days, and you’re tired of the insistent, unceasing waves that threaten to take you down, in desperate need of one who understands. Or maybe you’re in a peaceful place where it’s your turn to be an unwavering friend for someone else. You’re in good company…..Jesus has been both. He loves us with relentless passion. And He’s not going anywhere.
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
“Oceans (Where Feet May Fall)” Hillside United