Here’s the thing (a poem)

Here’s the thing about grief:

It pierces like a rusty knife,

Twisting and turning in our gut,

As we writhe in agony until all we can do is collapse in exhaustion.

The burning of loss so intense,

So unmercifully severe,

That we cannot fathom any way that it could be worse than it is in this moment:

This excruciating, blinding, white-hot moment.

Until the next moment becomes impossibly worse:

How can that be?

We don’t even know how we keep breathing through it,

but somehow, mercifully, mockingly, we gasp the next breath.


Here’s the thing about hope:

It comes in with its feathery wings,

Weaving its crimson ribbon through our grief:

Sending out gentle waves of light,

Through a touch,

Through a prayer,

Through a soft whisper of the Spirit to the soul,

Through the warmth of a “me too,”

When we cannot go on any longer in the echoing ache,

We manage to first blink the lingering tear off the tip of our eyelashes,

Taking that first shaky, uncertain, shallow breath,

Followed by a deeper breath,

and then whisper a cautious prayer in response to the gentle flutter of wings.

And hope, like a single faithful root shooting deep into the ground beneath our feet,

Stabilizes our heart within the raging storm

of our unsteady, electrifying grief.

The power of the Suffering Servant,

The Comforter,

The Counselor,

The Prince of Peace

Pours into our grief, bringing beauty in ashes.

Through the unifying ribbon of hope that holds our broken pieces together

within the crushing, burning, empty chaos of grief.

We somehow, miraculously, continue to exist in this painful in-between:

Longing for heaven,

And still planted on earth,

Held in the tender, nail-scarred hand of the One who weeps with us.

This hope we have as an anchor of our soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil, where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us. Hebrew 6:19-20a


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Pastor Al Gilbert

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