One of my favorite quotes from the Charlie Brown cartoon is…”Good grief!”
Usually, bad stuff happened to Charlie Brown.
He never kicked the football… The red haired little girl was always out of reach… His classmates ridiculed him…Even his dog Snoopy was always trying to fly away.
Charlie appeared to be more in pain than happiness in those cartoons. But that’s what made him real…to me.
It was Good Friday, around 7pm, and I saw I had a message on my phone from my parents cell. Since it wasn’t usual to get a message from their cell, I braced myself and heard the message. One of my sweet Aunts, Aunt Molly, had unexpectedly passed that afternoon.
I couldn’t believe it. I had just saw her the week before at a Relay for Life event. Suddenly, it felt like I was in a bad dream.
Tears welled up in my eyes but then…I got mad. I remember actually throwing the phone on my couch.
After speaking with my parents and figuring out my travel plan, I started packing up some stuff. Usually, when loved ones pass I go through the shock and sadness phase much longer but that day I skipped quickly to anger.
There wasn’t anyone I was mad at. I wasn’t mad at God really. But I was mad at the circumstance.
Mad for my Mom having to lose another close sister. Mad for Aunt Molly’s immediate family that wouldn’t get a chance to have future moments with the woman they loved.
As I was grabbing at some clothes to pack up, God communicated to me. It wasn’t audible, but it was from Him. Quickly, the picture of Mary, mother of Jesus, watching her son being beaten, mocked, and crucified on a cross to die was in my vision.
That exact day, Good Friday, was a day of mourning and sadness for my extended family and I, just as it was for Mary, the disciples, and believers back in Jesus’ time.
I thought out loud, “I bet Mary was mad too.” Actually, I bet a lot of people were mad. I even dare to think God could have been mad at having to let that happen to His Son.
He had to cast His eyes away from His perfect Son that took on all of our sins (Mark 15: 33-41). He had to sacrifice His only Son for me; for you; for our salvations sake.
But He did it for love. For our good.
Grief is a very personal thing. People go through the stages and depths many different ways in many different circumstances. That’s what makes us human. Relationships, whether close or more distant, can also level the depth of grief.
There have been a lot of reasons to grieve in this world lately. Don’t believe me? Just watch 10 minutes of the world news. Earthquake in Nepal, missing children, lost jobs, nasty divorces, incurable diseases, aging parents, legal battles, sex trafficking, mass killings of Christians, etc.
The only thing I know to do is love and to keep in mind the big picture that “this world is not my home” when I want to get frustrated in the day-to-day.
So, I’m going to remember the sweet times I had with Aunt Molly. Her visits, seeing her at church, laughing at reunions. Her tips she gave me for finding a man (p.s.- I still need to go down and sit on the steps at Emory to find a cute Doctor) 😉
I’ll remember her humor, beauty, and kindness. I’m going to try and duplicate her strengths in my own life. And I remind myself that we will see her again just as Mary saw Jesus again on that third day.
Grief isn’t good, but it can give you a better perspective on life. It can be used for good, in the end.
A softer heart toward others.
A more open mind to love unconditionally.
Learning how to comfort others with just the right words or just being a shoulder to cry on.
Not taking someone for granted.
Loving on those we have.
Praying for those grieving.
So, if the above results can be seen as a bit of good, then I guess something good can come out of grief.
Looks like Charlie Brown might have known what he was talking about all along…
In loving memory of Aunt Molly