02 Nov Love’s Journey
by Cheryl Ann Smith
Recently a friend shared the devastation of losing his beloved wife.
He spoke movingly of the waves of grief, loneliness, desolation. Initially he couldn’t quite believe she really was gone; later, he couldn’t quite figure out how he was meant to carry on without her. The absolute silence in the house screamed of the absence of her footsteps or her gentle call, “Want a cup of tea?”
In his grief, David called out to God for help and he “heard” these words: “Let the joy of her being in heaven not be surpassed by the pain of her leaving me.” Joy filled his heart: he always wanted the best for his wife, and now she possessed all. His love for her could rejoice in that, in spite of his loss.
Another consolation was given at her funeral with a burst of warmth and the cry, “released!” Later he discovered that his son had been given the same experience at the same moment.
His wife’s suffering over, he knew she was now released fully into the loving arms of God and he was given a tiny taste of this joyful embrace.
Understandably, our friend battled mightily with depression as he had to cope with living alone.
Sensing a nudge to reach out to a parishioner in pain, he visited this woman. She was cheered up, but David was still inwardly weeping.
“I’ve been trying, Lord,” he cried, “Now you have to do something. Please take the depression away by the time I get home.” That day the sadness lifted—not permanently of course, but the reprieve assured him that God did hear his prayer.
There were other touches of grace, but the final one brought a deep peace and profound sense of the eternity of love.
David suddenly thought to dig out a daily prayer book, and as he lifted it from his bedside cabinet, a holy card fell out.
He remembered the image of Jesus on one side, but not the words on the back: “Our loved ones have gone no further from us than to God, and God is very near.” He knew then that Anne was in God’s embrace and they were with him forever.
As David shared this journey of love and grief with me, he had both tears and radiance in his eyes. His heart was broken open from sorrow, but that open wound allowed God’s love and light to pour in.
I said, “David, you should write a book one day about this holy journey. You would bring hope to others who are grieving.” He said, “I will, if you’ll be my ghost writer.” This is our compromise!