Be merciful to me, LORD, for I am in distress;  my eyes grow weak with sorrow,  my soul and body with grief.

~Psalm 31:9 (NIV)~

We generally hear of the calm before the storm, but in some cases the storm has been raging for so long that we’ve forgotten how that calm looks and feels.  Some lives seem destined to be filled with turmoil; one raging storm after another with no time for restoration in between.  I pray that this was not the case for my friend, Corey, who passed away unexpectedly last week.  He was a weary soul; but one who had much love in his heart.  I loved him like my own brother and I miss him.

When I got the call telling me that he was gone, I was in shock.  It didn’t seem possible that this person whom I had come to value so much could be taken so quickly and without warning.  I immediately thought about the void that this would leave in my life and how we never got to do all of the things we talked about doing.  As I thought about this, my heart went from aching for the person I had lost to aching for what he had lost.  And then I remembered what he had finally gained; peace and freedom from the pain he hadn’t been able to escape here on earth.

It’s funny how even in the passing of our loved ones, our focus is usually more about our loss than about the pain they endured and all of the things which led to their passing.  We forget sometimes, as we get caught up in how making time for others can be so pressing in our schedules, that the little bit of time we are able to spend with those we love might just be enough to keep them from falling deeper into hopelessness.  We treat our little contributions as great Christlike sacrifices and we place no value on the pain they may be suffering; shrugging it off as “their mess” or “their problem.”  This may not be true in all cases, but there are those in our lives that get only the portion of our love which we feel they deserve.  Usually, these are the people who need it the most, yet we withhold.  How we arrive at our assessment of what they are entitled to is a mixture of past hurts, the context of our journey with them and where our ego leads us.  And that assessment generally fails to consider just how broken they really are because if we acknowledge their brokenness, we may well have to acknowledge our own.

I guess I’m saying all of this in hopes that you’ll reconsider the energy you are giving to your relationships.  That you may never look back and wonder if you could have done more or been more for that person.  That the time you spend with them doesn’t lift you up in your own mind as some sort of martyr; but that it would lift them up and give them the incentive to do the same for others.  Let your love for one another do more than simply scratch the surface.  Understand them, sympathize with them.  Attempt to care more about them than about what you may be missing if you take a little more time to care.  It’s better to truly be there for someone when they really need you than to look around later and find that it’s no longer an option.

So for my “brother”, I hope your pain is finally healed.  I hope you have been restored and that you know how much you are missed and how much you were loved, even by those who couldn’t show you.  Rest in peace, dear.  I’ll see you on the other side.

Then your light will break forth like the dawn,  and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness  will go before you,  and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.

~Isaiah 58:8 (NIV)~

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