I can accept that.
Until it's someone I love.
I sat through the funeral of my uncle this week, a man who occupied so many of my childhood memories, whose family intertwined with mine nearly every weekend. Of course I was sad. He was so close to my dad it was like losing a piece of my father all over again. Memories of family gatherings and fishing at Grandpa's pond and Val's pizza and animated card games flooded my mind. And laughter. There was always laughter.
It was hard to watch the slide show of Uncle Jim's life and see the faces of others I've loved who've left us, other uncles, aunts, Grandma, my dad. It made life seem like a cruel joke. We're here long enough to get attached and then people slowly leave us. Though death can happen any time, I know too well that as I get older the odds of losing someone I love increase. In the last 6 months alone I've lost a dear aunt and now my uncle, people who framed my childhood. As I flip pages on my calendar more of my loved ones will surely leave me. How will my heart ever take it?
And yet death is a part of life.
I can't change it, can't stop it. I can only endure it.
With living comes loving. I will always love those who pass on. But though life ends, love never dies. My aching heart confirms it. I wonder if that ache exists, persists, for a reason. The love that lingers long after someone exits this life whispers to my soul, "There must be something more. Surely this can't be it. You live. You die. You love. You lose. Life can't be this pointless."
In allowing us to love, in putting within us the capacity to carry love for others forever, dead or alive, is God showing us the eternal? And if God is love, is this ability to love a glimpse of Him? In letting us experience eternal love is He showing us Himself? Is the love we harbor deep within a very piece of God?
If so, the pang left in our hearts after someone we love dies is gift. Pure, beautiful, gracious gift.
That gift is God.
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
1 John 4:7-12
His love is made complete in us. As we love.
People live. People leave. But love remains. Death may be a part of life in this world, but love transcends this world into the next.
Love is God.
God is love.