FAITH MONTH: DAY 1: “Gifts of grace come to all of us. But we must be ready to see and willing to receive these gifts. It will require a kind of sacrifice, the sacrifice of believing that, however painful our losses, life can still be good — good in a different way than before, but nevertheless good. I will never recover from my loss and I will never got over missing the ones I lost. But I still cherish life. I will always want the ones I lost back again. I long for them with all my soul. But I still celebrate the life I have found because they are gone. I have lost, but I have also gained. I lost the world I loved, but I gained a deeper awareness of grace. That grace has enabled me to clarify my purpose in life and rediscover the wonder of the present moment.” ― Gerald L. Sittser
I first read this passage right after my husband died. It was very comforting. But I already knew about this. I still have one of my gratitude journals from the time while he was in his last weeks. It is amazing that I was so able to see the gifts of his dying time.
They were all around me, of course. My faith never wavered. It was our practice to speak of angels and God and the hereafter in very frank and blunt terms.
There are so many amazing gifts from our short time together. My life is vastly altered and would never look anything like it does if I had not been with him. Interesting how these things change the course of another’s life so radically.
Faith is a wonderful thing. It is only because I have battled so fiercely with the concept of God since I got here that it is as rich and deep as it is now. It is only because of deep and terrifying doubt and rage that I get to have this loving and generous presence in my days.
When we lose anything or anyone, we get to sit in the space of having gained their presence when the rest of the world may not have been aware of it. I got the best of my husband, because the last seven years of his life, his richest time, were with me. I am his witness and he was mine.
Now I know that this is the greatest gift we give to each other. Our presence, in those moments when life is taking place. Our authentic presence is a great gift. None of us will be together “forever and ever.” It isn’t possible.
But, if we are together for an hour, make the most of it. Be present, be faithful to that moment. I do not believe that faith is blind, but that it comes into LIFE with awareness and authenticity. If I am faithful to my friends, I am paying attention. The greatest gifts I can give to anyone are my time and my presence. There is nothing else that matters.
I want to be a generous friend with my time and my attention. If I only have a few moments with someone, I want them to feel recognized and known, deeply. That is what we have to give. And, maybe when it is gone, we will feel that loss. But it ain’t personal. It is the way of the world. I don’t grieve these things, because I always knew they were temporary.
They are merely gifts, gifts of Grace. I love that!