When we are grieving, when we have seen our hopes for healing or restoration dashed, where can we turn? This question has been in my mind for a long time, as my dad was diagnosed with cancer eight years ago and it slowly took his mobility and then his life. Since November, my family have lost both our grandmas and our dad, and my friends have lost Michael Etheridge, a kind and loving minister who was a student with us and suddenly had a heart attack while driving. Four funerals and a wedding (my sister recently announced her engagement) makes for a turbulent few months.
I have hardly mentioned this in my blogging to date, because how can I put that experience into words in a way which does justice to it? And there are so many different varieties and responses to suffering. Losing someone you love to violence, losing your home in a flood or because you have been forced to flee, drowning in debt when a marriage or a business fails, living through depression – is sharing my own experience helpful or frustrating for others whose experience has been very different?
How can we understand and face the reality of death without being consumed by it? With these, and many other questions, I looked for others who had walked this road before me. I don’t like easy answers to difficult questions, and probably neither do you. Since I have struggled to write something which communicates what I’m trying to say, I’m glad that other people have grasped that mettle. This series for Easter is about books which have helped me on days like Good Friday when the darkness appeared to have won.
But first, a moment of grace. The image for today’s post was the sunrise on the day my father died. I had been woken by a phone call early in the morning and there was little chance of going back to sleep after that phone call (nor of getting an earlier flight to Holland than the one I’d booked for that afternoon) so my husband took me for a fry up round the corner from home. I ate breakfast gazing out of the window at the most beautiful sunrise and felt the presence of God so powerfully with me, almost pointing at it and saying “Do not be afraid, even today. I haven’t forgotten you. I love you and I’ll always be with you”. I hope that even your darkest days also have a small ray of light somewhere in them.
Here’s my Easter reviews list:
- Being Mortal by Atul Gawande
- God on Mute by Pete Grieg
- Surprised by Hope by NT Wright
- At Least It’s Not Raining by Stephen Redman
- Walking With God Through Pain and Suffering by Tim Keller
- To The Usual Suspects by John Goldingay
- God Doesn’t Do Waste by Dave Bookless