Thursday, December 22, 2011

Delighting and grieving.

"The Lord delights in those who revere him
In those who wait for his love." ~Psalm 147:11

The days have been short and the nights long. The waiting for Christmas was interrupted this year: my Uncle Billy died suddenly last Thursday night. The family is so close, and that makes it both easier and harder all at once.

We've all been feeling as though it will be "always winter and never Christmas."

This morning, the Office was perfect. The perfect pattern of prayer.

Psalm 143--the song of those in distress: "Lord, listen to my prayer..."

Isaiah 66-- the quieting of the crying child: "Oh, that you may suck fully of the milk of her comfort!"

Psalm 147--"He binds up all their wounds..."

And then 147 ends with that oddity: "The Lord delights in those who revere him
In those who wait for his love."

Grief and fatigue leave me--from a human perspective--anything but delightful. If death is the end of all things, there is no more delight in a person. Memories may bring a smile or some comfort, but only with the thought that "things will never be the same."

But the Office, after allowing us to rail at God and weep, after promising to quiet us like a mother quiets her screaming infant, tells us that "the Lord delights in those who revere him."

One of the great blessings of the funeral home was that its men walk the mourners through every step. They let you grieve, but also help you move through the necessary motions. They tell you what to do so that you can survive those first few days.

In a similar way, that last Psalm tells the grieving soul what it must do: First, praise the Lord, for he is good. His wisdom can never be measured. Consider his creation. The mountains are covered in clouds, the ravens cry to him for their bread.

And then, sad soul, know this: The Lord delights in you.

The soul must know--must contemplate--this. She, who praises God in her grief, is a joy. God's infinite love is entirely directed toward her, and her praise opens her sad heart to receive this knowledge. "The Lord delights in those who revere him." Only those who revere him can know this.

So, once again, the Divine Office walks us through our days. We know it will not always be winter. We know Christmas will come, and that the Final Day will come, as well. Then we will see clearly, as my uncle sees now, the face of God who delights in us.




1 comment:

Melanie B said...

Erika,

I am so sorry for your loss.

This is a beautiful meditation. Indeed the Lord is good who comforts us in all our afflictions!

I've ben thinking of you and praying for your family.