30.05.16 - A date deeply engrained onto my heart forever; it was the day my earthly father went on to be with my Heavenly Father.
It is somewhat surreal to think that a whole 365 days have passed since the moment where I felt the world stand still. I found myself standing in a hospice with family and close friends thinking…
Will this heartache ever subside?
Where is God in all this? Aren’t heartfelt prayers supposed to be answered?
Where is the handbook on this?
How can anyone feel so lonely in a crowded room of thousands?
Am I the only one feeling this way?
How do I own my emotions without completely losing the plot?
One year on, there are so many moments that I can remember vividly during this journey of navigating death as Christian. Whilst I am no expert in this field, I know that I could not have done it alone; both physically and spiritually.
One year on, I am forever grateful for friends and family who stepped in when I didn’t know what to do or where to start. Friends who brought food, family who came over to help set up, friends who came even when I said don’t worry just to be around, friends who took me funeral outfit shopping – like who knows what to wear to their Dad’s funeral? I sure didn’t! Or perhaps, it was the friend who texted on the morning of my Dad’s one-year mark with the simple “thinking of you” that meant the world.
Those little actions and words are reminders that we need others and were made for community. I know that personally when I have gone through a tough period it is far easier or somewhat proud to want to do it on my own, because “I can it do it myself”, but I have realised that sometimes life is all too much and there is no shame in asking for help or better still, allowing others to help.
One year on, I am forever grateful that I have learnt the power of vulnerability. Whilst it sounds simple in theory, it is utterly frightening in reality! Being vulnerable means facing up to what you really think and believe and taking down all the masks, walls and protective mechanisms we have grown up building to be real. The type of real talk that could be taken well or potentially not well at all and suddenly you may not be perceived as a strong individual who has it altogether. This surprised me if I’m honest, because as I began to do this more and more, I realised no one, not one person alive has it altogether… and know what, it’s okay – more than okay, it’s the only way we can truly grow.
This may not look like spilling your entire thought process to every person you meet, but finding trusted friends and/or family that you can be honest with about how you’re feeling and know that they will love you no matter what. Tough seasons are hard enough without trying to pretend they’re not.
In Matthew 5 verses 3 – 4 (MSG) it says, “You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule. You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.”
These verses have sung out to me in the last year and I know now, more than ever, that it is truly in tough seasons that God’s grace and blessing can shine.
One year on, I am forever grateful for a father in heaven who has become my true comforter, peace, and source of joy.
In Philippians 4 verses 6 - 7 it says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
This verse may seem inadequate when your season looks anything but rainbows and victories – but after the past 365 days I can honestly say God is more faithful that we could ever understand. Somehow in the darkest moments, our comforter, the Holy Spirit can provide complete peace if we allow ourselves to be real. Heck, losing anyone you care about plain sucks - There’s no easy way to say it because it isn’t a once off pain like cutting your finger or stubbing your toe that subsides and heals over time.
Reality and eternal assurance
Losing someone is lifelong – you will never see that person again, hear their voice or have them apart of special occasions. In about 5 months, I will be lucky enough to be marrying my man of my dreams and sadly I won’t have my daddy to walk me down the aisle, and know what, that sucks. There is pain attached to that and a feeling of missing out, but I have a choice – to love more, to inspire those around me to lean into God and do the same myself OR I can be bitter, upset or hurt. I know the choice I want to make, but that does not mean it is easy by any means.
In this season, I have learnt that my heavenly father can love me more than I could ever imagine, care about me more than I can ever understand and above all knows my inner most desires more than I even do. Whilst I won’t have my daddy walk me down the aisle this year, I know he’ll be watching over me from above and I have my heavenly father right beside me for the rest of my days.
I loved my dad and forever will, because he helped point me to eternal father in heaven and his legacy lives on in the rest of us here today. The best days are yet to come and I plan on making each one count.
Meenal Chandra is one of the Sydney-based writers who is dedicating this piece to anyone who has lost someone close to them.
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