Those who know me know why there has been a blogging gap. Last week I lost my beloved brother to pneumonia. I have struggled with the idea of writing about this as
a) T’aint really anyone else’s business and
b) You may well not be that bothered anyway.
But I would be dishonest to ignore it as it occupies most of my waking thought (and quite a lot of what should be my sleeping thought) at the moment and although I cannot promise any really coherent train of thought, this has been where my brain has been at.
There are things in life that you just don’t see coming. You can waste a lifetime’s worth of energy worrying about what may or may not happen and than one sunny Saturday afternoon you get an unexpected phone call and everything changes. You can almost physically feel the land crumbling beneath your feet. My brother was ten years younger than me, successful, happy, popular with, as they say, it all in front of him. Within three weeks he was gone.
It’s the little things that make you the saddest. His sunglasses on the dashboard of the car, canceling the hotel that had been booked for his Christmas visit, hearing that his dog still runs into the kitchen looking for him.
Try as you might to find a reason, sometimes you just can’t. God doesn’t let you know. Indeed sometimes God is a distant figure in this. People try and invent reasons to make you or them feel better. Sympathetic, quizzical looks asking about his lifestyle but that approach never washed with me. There are better people in the world than him but there are worse. This doesn’t give anyone a right to judge.
CS Lewis talks about the absence of God in your grief
But go to Him when your need is desperate, when all other help is vain, and what do you find? A door slammed in your face, and a sound of bolting and double bolting on the inside. After that, silence. You may as well turn away.
Its tough but true I think. Almost as if a part of your grief has to be gone through alone. Eventually though (and I admit, I am only at the beginning of this) you move on a little to a place of accepting that you may never understand it.
When I lay these questions before God I get no answer. But a rather special sort of “No answer.” It is not the locked door. It is more like a silent, certainly not uncompassionate, gaze. As though He shook His head not in refusal but waiving the question. Like, “Peace, child; you don’t understand.”
And I think you come to accept that you don’t get over it. You learn to cary on moving forward in sorrow but also in faith, accepting that your soul will always be a little more ragged at the edge than it was before.