Grief and Hope
The oil crisis of the 80’s happened as I finished college in Houston. By the time I left seven years later, maybe 1/3 of the city had been laid off. In those years, I was laid off three times and understandably became quite depressed. One day talking to my parents, I burst into tears. They consoled me by saying that I was single, not supporting anyone and could move home if needed. I would be alright. It took me a while to process what my parents said to me.
I thought about my parents’ lives. They grew up in China experiencing roaming bandits, famine and lawlessness. My father spoke of living in Hong Kong when the Japanese invaded. They were in China when the Communists took over. My father, born in Hawaii, made his way to the United States. My mother and oldest sister joined him after sneaking out of China. In the United States, they faced racism, isolation and raised a family in a new land. As I grew older, I realized I could not really imagine what they saw and endured – awful, terrible times and wonderful gracious times. And they came through it without being completely crushed in spirit. I too made it through my own trials and was found by God.
I share all this with you as we approach a year of an unbelievable and unexpected virus that has spread across the world, impacting every life. While thankfully the death count is only 140 in Solano County from the virus, our world has lost a lot in this year of COVID-19. Over 2 million lives (people who were sons and daughters, mothers and fathers, friends) have been lost worldwide. We still have ongoing changes and loss in our routines, communities, families and workplaces.
This Lenten season, we are invited to Journey with Jesus to the cross. Thankfully the journey does not end at the cross but goes beyond to the resurrection and new life in our Savior Jesus.
Lent began on Ash Wednesday as we remembered our human frailty - from dust you came and dust you shall return. Take this time to grieve the very real things we all miss – people, activities, plans that changed. Share it with others, acknowledge your pain and know that it is okay to not feel okay. Seek out others to support and be supported by. Invite Jesus to be with you in your pain and loss. He is glad to be with you and can help you. What has gotten you through past hard times? How have you experienced God in those times?
1Thessalonians 4:13 reminds us that we grieve those who have died and yet have hope knowing that those who trust in Jesus have eternal life. We know this current sorrow and loss will not last forever. We wait as people with hope. We know that the worst thing is not the last thing. Do not hurry your grief and do not cling to it. Welcome the hope that God offers us in this moment and always.