Light in the Night of Grief
by Madison Randolph
Tuesday, March 22 – Psalms 6, 12, 94; Lam. 1:17–22; 2 Cor. 1:8–22; Mark 11:27–33
(BCP Readings for today)
My Lent began before Ash Wednesday this year. In January, I met with my spiritual advisor, and I enthusiastically gave him a list of items I wanted to work toward in preparation for the Lord this season. There were four in all. At the top of the list, I wanted to be a godly caregiver to my beloved wife, Allison. He suggested that was enough.
Allison wanted me to officiate Morning and Evening Prayer plus read the 3 Psalms as distributed in the Lenten Reflection booklet. She asked me to sit on the bed next to her to read these. During this time we both experienced great comfort, knowing that God was present in all of this. The comfort she had in this was immeasurable. At the start of prayer time, Allison would be awake. Then she would peacefully slip off into slumber before the end. I know she took comfort in the Word of the Lord.
Little did I know that her earthly Lenten season would end five days after Ash Wednesday. Caregiving didn’t end then: children had to be comforted, preparations had to be made, an obituary typed and family/ friends and church had to be notified. Lastly, funeral arrangements needed to be finalized. A deep and painful bereavement kicked in – full steam ahead.
Fast forward a couple weeks in my foggiest mind. Hey Doug, “remind me of when my blogpost is and what are the readings?” Psalm 6 is one of the daily readings. I’ve read and prayed this Psalm many times in these past couple weeks, but fast forward again a couple weeks. I had to ask, “Doug, did you pick this reading for me consciously or are the blog assignments random?” He had a puzzled look on his face as if, “oh no, am I in trouble here? Where is he going with this?”
I mentioned the contents of Psalm 6, and we realized God’s part in this. You see, he didn’t deliberately assign this day to me. This very moment marked a slight turning point in my grief. Psalm 6:6 and 8-9 says, “I am weary with my moaning; every night I flood my bed with tears; I drench my couch with my weeping… the Lord has heard the sound of my weeping. The Lord has heard my plea: The Lord accepts my prayer.” God told me, “I haven’t left you alone. I am still here, and I would’ve caught you had you fallen.”
In that January spiritual direction meeting, I proclaimed something else. I mentioned that I was ready to meet the Lord, meaning that I would gladly take her place. And, it was very heartfelt, and I feel I would have come to her rescue. Later, I read in A Grief Observed, C. S. Lewis questioned that very fact. He wrote,
“And then one babbles – ‘if only I could bear it, or the worst of it, or any of it, instead of her’. But one can’t tell how serious that bid is, for nothing is staked on it. If it suddenly became a real possibility, then, for the first time, we should discover how seriously we had meant it. But is it ever allowed?
It was allowed to One, we are told, and I find I can now believe again, that He has done vicariously whatever can be done. He replies to our babble. ‘You cannot and you dare not. I could and dared.’”
So, I offer this prayer:
I walk without sight – Oh, where is my light?
My soul is deep within a cavern – Oh, where is my light?
The house is devoid of a life – Oh, where is my light?
North, South, East and West are without direction – Oh, where is my light?
I crawl with night always over me – Oh, where is my light?
I tip toe through the valley of shadows – there must be some light.
Life is a blur in my tears – there must be some light.
Night traverses to the dawn – there must be some light.
The angel proclaims the resurrected Lord – Ah, There is my Light.
Come, Lord Jesus, Come!
In the name of God, who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
Image by Don McCullough (used by permission via Creative Commons).