Riding the Waves

Riding the Waves
By Steve Smith

Surfers are diligent in watching for waves that will be the best to ride. Every surfer knows that if you miss a wave it goes to shore never to return again, the opportunity to ride that wave has passed. 

I had heard this analogy used in terms of grieving years ago and am finding out how true it is, although something else has happened along the way. It has been my experience that the ones I see coming and ride in grieving so to speak are at least somewhat predictable, but the ones that crash in unexpected have taken me like a tidal wave I never saw coming.

Exactly a year ago our son Nicholas passed away at the age of 28. Some days it still doesn’t even seem real. Some days it is nearly debilitating. When events or things come that trigger grief I have found it good to ride the waves, if the opportunity is missed it will not return again.

I suspect most surfers don’t look for tidal waves, if one comes up on them it takes them under and can even drowned them. This is what I have found to be the hardest in grieving. All the “firsts” have been very difficult, lots of tears and heartache. But it is the ones I have not seen coming that have been the hardest to keep from drowning in, there have been 3 in particular.

The first was a picture of the head stone at the cemetery. It crushed me. I was devastated by the visible reality. I did not see that wave coming and it was a tough ride to keep from drowning in my own tears for days.

About the time that past the second was believe it or not a lawn mower. My daughter in law gave me the lawn mower from their home. After I picked it up I got 10 minutes down the road and the wave crashed in on me. I didn’t really want the lawn mower, I wanted my son to be here to cut his grass. I could barely control myself for 4 days.

The third was a picture of a letter for a candle lighting ceremony at the church he attended on all Saints day. And again unexpected the waves crashed in.

Personally I would not say grief is a process, I would say it is a mystery that lasts a life time…….and it’s different for every person. Maybe you have experienced some of these things I have, maybe not. Whatever has been your experience I do hope the surfing analogy helps in some way. Missing the waves can be as hard watching them go to shore as riding them. There gone never to return, even the tidal waves.

As Christians we should be the best at grieving, sound strange? Biblically it is accurate according to 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep.

Notice Paul does not say don’t grieve, he says don’t grieve like those who have no hope. We are enabled to be the best at grieving by the Holy Spirit because we have been given hope. At the cross Jesus died and shed his blood to forgive our sins. At the door of an empty tomb Jesus rose to seal our eternal destiny. There is hope, real hope, living hope.

I have said many times before this past year that I don’t know how people without faith in the Gospel make it through hard times of grieving. Now I actually mean it. Without knowing Nicholas was given his faith in Jesus as a gift, his sins were forgiven, he is present with Jesus now and will be forever, it would be hopeless grieving. But it is not even amongst the tears and heartache.

As a Dad I have and still am rewinding constantly to a base line of truth as this mystery of grief goes on in my life. I have a Heavenly Father who gave his only Son who was perfect to die on a cross for our sins. He knows how I feel to have a son die. He bottles my tears. He hears each cry. He holds Nick till Jesus returns, there is a resurrection hope.

When the waves of grief come in your life I encourage you to take 5, and ride them, if they pass by they are gone and the experience they afford you is gone. In Christ, we can be the best at grieving through all of its mysteries as well as a witness of what it means to have hope beyond death because of what Jesus has accomplished!

BlogMatthew Schulergrief, loss, blog