... the Lord hears when I call to him.
If you followed me around on a Monday morning, you would find me doing the same thing, every single week, for the last seven years.
I come into the church office, slightly blurry eyed from worship the day before, chugging coffee and eager to move on to next week’s checklist. But before I unlock my office door, I usually duck into the library where volunteers are counting the previous day’s offering. There is a faithful rotation of four counters that are on a week-on week-off schedule. On the week John Cady comes, he always brings McDonald’s coffee for everyone.
Of all the things that feel misplaced in the world right now, I miss John Cady’s coffee.
I’ve heard a lot about grief in the last week. People say that this weariness of our souls is grief. We are supposed to allow ourselves to be sad and acknowledge the things we are missing out on.
And many in my church family are missing out on a lot:
- High school seniors missing prom …
- College seniors missing graduation …
- Temporary workers missing income after getting laid off …
- Grandparents missing their children and grandchildren …
- Parents missing teachers!!
As for me, much of my life is the same, but I still miss John and his coffee.
I wonder if it is true that those of us who are still living in relative comfort still have grief to carry as well. Sometimes I think I have it so much better than many people, so I should suck it up and be grateful. But I’m not sure that grief works that way.
We are living in a moment we have never experienced before, and each of us is processing it differently. Some are taking the bull by the horns, exercising more and tackling home improvements. Others are stuck in their stretchy pants, stress eating. I find myself bouncing back and forth between these two realities.
Today’s goal was to stop touching my face and wear a pair of pants with a button.
Last week I decided to look to the Psalms for wisdom, and today I read the fourth Psalm – yep, I’m only on the fourth Psalm in case you are wondering how successful I’ve been. Verse three advised, the Lord hears when I call to him.
In my prayer time this morning, I told God that I wanted to ask for the health and protection of the people I love, then I added, but I’m not sure if you work that way. I believe God is with us no matter what, but I don’t think God is upstairs deciding who has prayed hard enough to be OK and who hasn’t. But still, I prayed. Because God hears when I call.
Grief is a messy thing really, and maybe the worst part about it is that it will sucker punch you when you least expect it. Some people might tell you how to do it well, but that would be a lie because there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Instead, when you experience grief, you have to simply do the best you can to carry it in a way that feels authentic to you. That might look like long runs and painting the house one day. And it may resemble a tub of ice cream and Netflix on another.
But however you are carrying this heavy load, I hope you might rest in the truth that God does, indeed, hear you when you call. So shout at the top of your lungs or whisper quietly, phone a friend or send an email, and forgive yourself when you have buried it all inside, because God knows you, hears you and loves you anyway.