We just recently marked 5 years since my grandpa died. We’ve all changed and healed some since that day in 2011. It was such a sad day. Obviously. Each year the sadness gets a little less intense. We still miss him. We still can be brought to tears without warning when we think of him. His death left a gap in our family. He’s not there to greet me with his signature side-hug and ‘Hi-ya’. His recliner is empty…and now gone. Hearing him call grandma by his nickname for her. Life has changed…morphed into our new normal. Morph, by definition is a gradual process of transformation. All of life seems to be like that. Always adjusting to a new normal. Parents divorce. Morph. New normal. A friend moves. Morph. New normal. Passion and intentionality in marriage wanes. Morph. New normal. Children become teenagers. Morph. New normal. Sometimes the morph is healthy, sometimes not. After the death of one you love, morphing can be a good thing. Right? Life goes on. It has to. The day he died came and went. Five times now.
A week after the day he died, is the day he was born. We celebrated his birthday without him that year. And every year since we think about him. He’s the topic of our conversation. “Tell me a story about Grandpa.” “What memories were on your mind today?” Then this year. This year my brother and his wife were expecting their first babe. She was due a few days before grandpa’s birthday. We thought he might make his appearance on that special day. She labored all that day, and the day before, and the day after. He was born the day after Grandpa’s birthday. They gave him Grandpa’s name. He would have been so excited to meet this little boy. New life. New hope. Morph. New normal.
The time at the hospital waiting for this little one was… Well, I don’t have a good word to sum it up. A list would better cover it. Long, boring, interesting, tiring, draining, exciting, frustrating, wonderful. And, I was only there for 6 hours. I can’t imagine the list my mom could put together. That day I learned new things about myself and those in that little waiting room. I guess our weaknesses are most obvious when we’re waiting. Do we talk too much and interrupt others when we’re nervous? Do we make dumb jokes at the expense of others? Wonder what they learned about me? I was also reminded of some traits I already knew about. The sarcasm, harsh joking, sensitivity, and, what’s that called when you want something and you don’t think too much about who you run over getting it? Ya. That. Oh, and old feelings got dredged up too. Slight discomfort sitting between my dad and step-dad, across from my mom. What was the thought that caused the look that crossed her face when she looked at our unlikely trio? I don’t know.
I do know I am slowly learning something about myself. The whole day after baby’s birthday I was so down. Tired, irritable, sad. Why?! (I get so impatient with myself.) What is wrong with me? (Ahhh!) I should be happy. (Said through tears.) I just got to see and hold my new nephew! And, then again the next day. Fighting tears all morning. Again, I’m wondering what is wrong with me? This is my theory. I observe and ingest everything. Ev. ery. thing. It often drives me crazy that I’m so observant. Maybe I even make up stuff that’s not really happening. Read into every little thing. So sensitive to anything I perceive as negative. A lunch mate not being kind enough to the waitress when her meal was not to her liking. Another lunch-mate interrupting and barely taking a breath during their nearly one-sided conversation. A fellow waiting room-er jumping ahead in line to see the baby, when clearly it was not their turn. Man.
I’m an introvert. I perceive, analyze, digest, analyze, ingest and think about it some more. God created me. Personality and all. Yes. But toss in my sin and other people’s sins. I doubt I’m exactly as God wants me to be. That’s where our walk with Him comes in. Salvation is a free gift, through the complete work of Christ on the cross. We confess, believe, repent…the gift is ours. We’re saved. Then there’s sanctification. Being sanctified means we are a work in progress. We are all a piece of work. Am I right? Thanks be to our all-powerful and yet personal Creator that He doesn’t want us to stay that way. (Morph.) He is so patient, loving, inviting and everything. (New normal.) Haven’t I been here before? (Morph.) How many times do we have to revisit this? (New normal.) How many reminders will I need to lean into Him?? (Morph.) My focus just has this pull toward self that is so hard to fight against. Ephesians 6:12 reminds us that “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” (ESV) Ah, so it is about more than just me? 😉
As you lean, again and again, moment by moment, day after day, remember: Fix [y]our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:18) The eternal Gospel, our Good News, should be our focus. Pray for me? I’ll be praying for you. Pray that we can lean and fix our eyes on Jesus and everything else will take its proper place and priority. There are so many distractions. His words remain.
(Third Day says it well. This song is worth the listen.)