Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Best Mourning I Ever Had


The Best Mourning I Ever Had

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”
Matthew 5:4

Last week, we buried a patriarch in my family. Although not biologically, he was the only grandfather figure many of us had the chance to really know and grow up with. It was a strange sort of home-going process, in that genuine mourning was terribly stifled. We have a very big family, therefore we experience saying farewell all too often to our loved ones. We have come accustomed to the process of anticipating the sting and stillness of death, the onset of grief, the dutifulness of interment arrangements and the ultimate reality of emptiness felt by the dearly departed. But again, this time… it was strange.

You see, many of us allowed the troubling of his extended family to dismay our hearts and genuine feelings toward him. Their intentions to weary us with senseless bickering, disputes, accusations and threats hardened many of our hearts to the point the natural course of mourning could not take place. Myself, just as guilty as all the rest, was terribly torn from good memories and tormented by his deeds committed during his late, ailing age. The mistreatment and endued hardships placed on our beloved matriarch and all she has and knows crippled even my ability to recall the reasons why she loved him, we grew to love him, and in spite of any of his faults, the community at large loved him.

I remember learning the BEATTITUDES in Sunday school. This lesson was taught to a great multitude of followers of Jesus. When he saw the crowd in all their vastness, he went on a mountainside and sat down with his disciples and taught them what is traditionally known at the Beatitudes. Vs. 3-6 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” There is a continuing litany of these in Matthew 5. As a child, I often wondered, why is this attitude so great? Blessed are the poor, mourning, meek and hungry? What? This is the great thing about learning as a child; you get it when you grow up.

Often times, even as adults, we struggle with the Word of God. We ask, what does this or that mean? Then, because we don’t get it, we determine it doesn’t make real sense. Well I am here to tell you, as a thirty year old woman, born and raised in the church, educated both theologically and intellectually, I didn’t get it! However, one day, as I approached the casket of the man who served as my grandfather for more than eighteen years, I got it. I hadn’t allowed myself to feel one bit of remorse until I realized, he was really gone. It bothered me that I had little to no emotion, even after writing his obituary and consoling his related family. I looked around and saw so many of my cousins, aunts, uncles and the like. I saw they were torn too. They, like me, so stifled by deliberate hurt and pain, could not express that they did love him and would miss him, however great or small. It was then, for what it was worth, I began to weep. Initially, I even tried to control it, for fear my family might judge me for such an outburst of emotion in such an awkward situation. Then I thought, they might just think it’s because I am pregnant, or because I am a minister. But I confess, I just simply mourned. Even now, I weep in remembrance and feel once again God is honoring his promise to me, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” After that, I felt a great healing. Not just from our loss, but from all the various situations which had taken place over the past months and years. I was comforted.

The last Beatitude is found in verse 11-12, “Blessed are you when people insult you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

Therefore, it is my personal goal to not allow any manor of man to keep me from receiving the blessings freely given by God. I was not the first to be dealt with unkindly and I will not be the last. But surely, I can let my attitude be better, for my reward is greater. My encouragement to you is to let your reward be great, let your heart be comforted, and let not your heart be troubled. Someday, you may have to mourn with those who cannot. Here’s to the best mourning I ever had!

~In Christ,

Caarne White

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