Recently my girlfriend gave me a little paperback book that she got for me to share with my grandchildren; one she thought might help them in dealing with the sudden, unexpected, tragic loss of their 25-year-old uncle – our middle son. It’s a quick and easy read for an adult, except for the few places I was so overcome with emotion and gratitude that I had to stop reading, close my eyes and just absorb the truths in this precious book for a moment. It touched my heart so remarkably that I felt the need to share it with everyone! It is written by Erin Campbell and illustrated by Aaron Campbell (and the illustrations are so beautiful, I hope you buy the book for yourself just so you can enjoy them along with the text!) – Copyright 2019. The title of the book is the title of this blog post. I share her writings with you today with her written permission.
I hope you love it as much as I do.
Was your day today yellow, blue, or purply-orange?
Did you laugh rainbows and sing songs today? Did you discover that your favorite blanket was not lost after all? Did you climb a mountain that you hadn’t climbed before? Did you find Unicorns up there?
Or was today a day in which your heart was blue and rainy; you couldn’t find your favorite blanket, you fell down the mountain, and all the Unicorns ran away?
Sometimes we have yellowy-golden moments and days Here, and sometimes Here is filled with gloomy gray or dark as midnight days.
Did you know that there is a Here and a There, and we have the chance to live in both of them?
There is AMAZING. But for now, we are Here.
And Here is usually pretty okay, great even, but some things don’t make sense Here. Life, Here, isn’t always fair. Bad things happen; we feel pain and sorrow. People we love die.
Here, hurt happens.
Someday, we will be There, and things make sense There. Things are actually perfect There, but right now we are Here and because of that, some things just don’t, and won’t, make sense.
Here, there is sickness, pain, death, and addiction.
Here, there is injustice and bullying and meanness.
Here, we cry.
Here, we feel angry and numb.
Here, many different painful things can happen…..except one thing. One painful thing can never happen, not even while we are Here.
We can never be alone.
No matter what feelings we are feeling or have ever felt, or ever will feel, no matter how confusing things are, no matter what terrible things have happened, or are happening, or ever will happen, we can never be alone. Not then, not now, not ever.
Because God isn’t confined to There. He is always Here, too. He is not a God far away, He is a God nearby. Not only is He with us, He cares about us.
He wants to give us comfort, Here. He knows that Here is hard, so He sends comfort in many different ways.
Hugs from people we love and trust.
A song that says just what we needed to say but couldn’t find the words ourselves.
The love of a dog.
A scripture that perhaps we’d heard before, but now it means so much more.
Someone who will just listen.
A long road where we can run and run and run it out, feet and heart pounding.
In these moments, as we are being reminded that we are loved, cared for and heard, God is Here. It is His love and tender care that our heart is soaking in.
So let it happen. Soak it in. Cry your tears, shout if you need to. Talk about the painful, nonsensical things that happen. Feel the ache. Don’t stuff it down or deny it. Let it rip, because it is in these moments of honesty that God’s love can come into our hearts, gently yet strongly. Softly, yet powerfully. His love is perfect and it is just what our hearts need.
For now, we are Here, and while we are here there won’t always be answers to all the questions we have. Pain will come and we will feel sadness and anger and hurt.
But remember Dear One, that you are not alone. You are not abandoned. You have not been left to do the best you can on your own.
God is with you.
And He is willing to take the weight of your sadness on His strong shoulders.
He did not come into this world and suffer to bring and end to suffering. He came to give our suffering a different end. The best kind of ending there is; the kind that isn’t actually an ending at all.
God has made it so that our pain and suffering can end in beauty and strength. Even if the thing that is hurting us is death. God made the end of this life the beginning of a whole new life.
For now, we are Here, but someday we will be There, living this whole new life. And There if very, very good.
There is like the best day you have ever had, only better.
There is where you find the song that you have been humming but couldn’t quite get the words or remember where you heard it.
There is like the first day of summer vacation, over and over and over again.
There is like the best kind of surprise – the kind that isn’t scary and is just what you wanted without you even knowing what it was exactly that you wanted until it was right there in front of you.
There is like your first taste of ice cream, or chocolate, or fruit with limes and chilies, eaten while you stare at the sea.
There is like the first kiss you shared with the one you love forever.
There isn’t an end at all, it is the beginning of all things real and good and true and it will last forever.
For now, we are Here. And while we are Here, some things will hurt and some things just won’t make any sense. So it is important to remember the Here is not all there is, and because of God’s love for us, the end of our time Here can be the beginning of our time There.