Saturday, July 24, 2010

Greg Laurie's Grief

Pastor Greg Laurie lost his son, Christopher, (on the right in the photo) two months after we lost Joey. Today is the anniversary of that day and the words below are taken from his facebook page today. He speaks for every bereaved parent in his words and so I wanted to share them.

We have been deeply comforted by him many times in the past two years. I am so sorry for his loss, yet so grateful that we've walked this road together. I don't know him personally, though I have heard him speak a couple of times at the Harvest Crusade in Honolulu. He is wildly popular, with 40,000 friends on facebook, and a gifted evangelist, drawing huge stadium crowds every summer, all over the country. He is the aging Billy Graham's heir apparent, and in the real world they are very good friends. I do know that he has been an anchor for us in the two years since Joey went to Heaven. He has always been an anointed preacher/teacher, but now even more so because he has increased credibility through his suffering. I highly recommend his blog and facebook page and that of his wife, Cathe Laurie. They always have inspiring things to say.

So with that introduction, I share these honest, heartfelt words from a grieving father with you.

"At first, people would approach with often clumsy attempts at offering sympathy. Other times, they would say just the right thing.

But after two years,very few people say anything at all. Only a handful. Perhaps they don’t know what to say.

Many will ask how a grieving person is doing. Are they over it yet? May I answer for all people who have lost loved ones, especially children?

No. We never will be “over it,” so please don’t ask that, if you please.

Some well-meaning but misguided Christians might say, “Don’t be sad. They are in heaven!” You must have never lost a loved if you say something like that. We know they are in heaven, and frankly, we want them here with us on Earth. So, we are sad.

When the apostle Paul’s friend and fellow worker Epaphroditus fell gravely ill, Paul wrote in a letter: “Indeed he was ill, and almost died. But God had mercy on him, and not on him only but also on me, to spare me sorrow upon sorrow” (Philippians 2:27 NIV).

So even Paul, who certainly had a strong faith and his theology straight, could hardly bear the thought of being separated from a close friend by death.

Are we getting through it?

The answer to that question is yes. Some days are better than others.

The most random things can trigger vivid memories that we did not even know were stored in the vaults of our imaginations. But like little home movies, they play out, and it both comforts and saddens.
But the thing we cannot do is forget. Nor do we want to, even if remembering causes pain.

Yes, our pain is deep, but know this: God is deeper still. He has kept His promises to me and my family. He has been there for us each step of the way, though it has been so very hard.

So we do not sorrow as those who have no hope. But we do sorrow. And we will continue to shed many tears. That’s because our love continues on for that person that has left us."


Anonymous said...

This was such a nice post tonight. Have been haviing a herd time. I never know why but I miss my baby girl and it is hard. Her birthday is coming and I want to celebrate. It is hard, because she is not here. Thanks for reminding us that we are never to be okay. God is in our lives full time, it is just not the same.

Anonymous said...

I have been comforted with words of "being in Heaven". It has comforted me greatly. It's just not so comforting from people that haven't been there.
I have never lost a child but a sister I loved dearly.I try to imagine the heartache associated with losing a child but I can't, nor do I want to in this life.
You and Joe much stronger than I. That gives me very much compassion for you both!
Much love,

karen gerstenberger said...

How perfectly true and lovely, though painful. The "authority of those who have suffered" is so important to me now. Faith, and statements of truth, are very different in that light. I have little tolerance for listening to preaching from others.

Anna/Flowergardengirl said...

This grief is so much to bear for you. I don't think I could hold up under it. I'm here--I hear you--and I won't forget cause it seems cruel to forget. I rarely know what to say--but I feel like always offering something and doing it consistently cause God ask me to. He ask me to show compassion. He ask me to be there for a fellow christian. He ask me to walk like Him and I try. I'm not as good as God but I am faithfully and continually keeping you in the front of my prayerful mind.

Every night at this time God reminds me to remember Karen. Cause God wants to hear that I love my brothers and sisters. He commands us to love one another. And I do.

Robin said...

My heart goes out to your friend Greg. It seems that 2008 was a terrible, terrible year.

One of my friends lost her husband that March, and another mutual friend said to me the other day, "I can't believe we lost both Ed and Josh in 2008."

I said that I basically don't believe 2008 even happened.

I am glad that Greg (and you) have found such comfort in faith. My experience has been quite different, but I have come to understand that as connected to a call to minister to those whose lives are flooded with darkness rather than light.

If only I could have offered that to my own child.

OH! Word verification: heave. Heaven minus the last letter -- for those of us for whom doubt is the most familiar of experiences.

Anonymous said...

This is how we feel having lost our girl two years ago. It must be the same for all of us. Thank you for putting it to words. You know God is in our lives but it really is not ever the same. Some say we are strong but in private that isn't the way it is. Love you so much Karen and Joe

Leslie said...

Thank you for sharing this. I have a friend who lost a beloved son to cancer this past year, and I took the liberty of sending her the link to this post. It, and many of your own posts, speak so honestly of holding on to faith in the midst of great pain.

Your son was beautiful. You loved him well. You still love him, and honor him, well.

Melanie said...

I understand. Really, I do.
It has been 7 months and 13 days since our 12 yr. old son, Andrew Christopher Dorsey, went to Heaven.
He was diagnosed with brain cancer last August and within 4 months he was gone.
Yes...we have heard it ALL. Some of the things have been very hurtful because really, those who have never lost a child, one who should still be in your home, cannot fathom the depth of the pain.
Nor would they want to. Nor would I want them to.
The pain is at times excruciating and my body can barely contain it. It was especially that way in the first few days of his passing. I would lie down and writhe in emotional pain that seemed to be trying to make its way outside my body.
I likened it to labor, except in reverse. I guess I just wanted to tuck my boy back into the safey of my womb.
I'm sorry for your pain. And I'm sorry for mine. said...

Dear Karen, Joe & Family: We love you all, and continue to be touched by your beautiful son. I like that you are making Joeys Book of Words for all to reflect on. I so enjoyed the blog he and Rachel created during their journey with Gunther. I loved the clever comments from his friends and family and could just picture you laughing to "another belly-buster!". He was truly Entertainer, Jr. in your special family! Joey spread such simple joy with this life. An abundant life--No doubt about your Joey's way of living.
Although my own brother passed over 30 years ago, I still find him actively in my dreams. I awake and am always keenly aware of his presence and how very real he seemed in the dream--even after all of these years! I feel as if he is comforting me but then miss him again. We, too, had lots of fun and laughs together. He was my closest sibling. Always praying for you & Joe and grateful for your friendships. Love, bonita & John