A Prayer

To our most beloved heavenly father

In the holy name of Jesus

The savior of all things broken

My heart is breaking

I’m at a complete loss

Unable to stand

Or grasp this evil that devours

The pain is crippling

The hate in our world overwhelms

Eyes wide open

Though I wish I could close them

The loss of security

Loss of dignity

Loss of life

Yet my faith in you is not to be shaken

For I believe you placed me here

“For such a time as this”

And “only when it is dark enough, can you see the stars.”

So I come to you now

As a shattered vessel

Longing to be pieced back together

And filled to the brim

With your peace, hope and love

I want to sing a new song

A song of freedom

So I plead with you on bended knee

Knowing full well how unworthy I am

But by your grace and mercy

Boldly I approach your throne

I pray to rebuke the powers of darkness

Those who seek to steal, kill, and destroy in the night

Bring about your morning Lord

Shower your grace upon the broken

Heal the wounds that tear us apart

That regardless of race, gender, identity, or denomination

Your light would shine brightly from our hearts

Give us courage to stand and speak

When it is required of us

To call out injustice wherever it resides

Help us to raise up the battered, abused, and downtrodden

So that their voices may be heard

That they may never again know hunger

That they may always have shelter

That they may never be alone

Open all our hearts and minds to your truth

Help us to plant and nourish good fruit

Let seeds fall upon good soil

Seeds of unity, authenticity, grace, hope

And most importantly love, agape love

Though we may start out as a tiny drip

In you we can flow into a mighty river

That we may cut through the rocks that break us apart

You are our strength and shield

The foundation that shall not be moved

A safe place in times of weakness

All honor and praise belong to you

We know that through this night you are by our side

We release all fear and anxiety

Knowing we can rest in your care

Continue to shape and mold us

Take our pride and need to be right

Help us to embrace the unknown

Help us to love even when we are hurt

And to do the things they say can’t be done

For we know though you all things are possible

May we never stop seeking

And having faith as a small child

Thank you for the blessing you have bestowed

I commend all things to your care.

Knowing you know all things so we don’t have to

Amen

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It’s Okay To Feel

I have found that in my life there are four possible types of tears that occur at a funeral. They can each happen individually or maybe just two of them but in some case you get hit with all four.

Type one, is your own personal grief that is measureable to how well you knew the deceased. A one on the scale is, I was acquainted with them and grieve over the loss of good person from the world. A ten on the scale is the people you consider family, this can be blood relatives or simply someone that is has made a large impact on your life.

Type two is empathy for the grief of others. I personally consider myself to be a pretty empathic person and so I feel this one pretty acutely. Whenever I see someone crying I am bound to cry right alongside them.

Type three is a rekindling of grief that you have felt for the past losses in your life. This is one of the most difficult for me as I have felt some pretty immeasurable grief. Grief in my life is like an ocean that like a tide that rises and falls. When at a funeral I always experienced at least one of the aforementioned tears, but when there is a combination of these tears present, personal pain has a way of resurfacing.

Type four is fear of future grief. Funerals make us look our mortality and the mortality of those close to us.

This past Tuesday I went to a funeral of a wonderful woman of God, someone with whom several of my friends had lived and she was a very close friend to my great aunt with whom I am very close. I knew her enough to be saddened by the loss of a sincere and truly kind woman. I had tears welling up in my eyes several times during the service, but it was the committal service at the grave side that really broke me down.

I’ve been to a lot of funerals in my life and something that especially stands out in Mennonite services is that, they always bury the deceased. The funeral directors will lower the casket into the ground and they will begin to cover the grave with shovels and anyone that wishes to participate can take a turn.

I grew up with this, but only after I had seen people leave their loved one there for someone else to bury, could I really appreciate this act. This is the last thing you can do for someone, to really lay them to rest. It is also good for my soul to release that person and it provides a sense of closure.

So here we were laying this woman to rest, the family and close friends taking turns to cover the grave, while the rest of those at the grave were singing songs about how beautiful Heaven must be, and I see some people letting go of the grief that they had try to keep inside, then like the swell of the tide I am overcome by all four of the tear triggers.

There was sadness for the loss of this woman, sorrow for the family who all too recently had a much more sudden and seemingly senseless death, that I know they all must have been have been feeling as well, I was overwhelmed by the reality that three graves in this cemetery were occupied by people that I loved greatly, my father, his brother, and another great aunt who also helped raise me, and lastly the fear that I would lose someone else in my family.

I wanted desperately not to lose control of my emotions, this wasn’t really my loss, and this was not the place to revisit the grief I constantly try to shove into a safe all the way in the back of my mind.

As this service ends my friend hugs me and says “we can go over to your dad’s grave I’ll sit in the grass with you”, I was reluctant at first I did not want to let go, because sometimes when I start crying it feels like it will never stop, but I decided to go. I get there and I can’t hold it in any longer I sob so much it gave me a headache but my friend was there holding on to me and it was then I realized that I always feel much better when I let myself feel. Yes, even the pain. I don’t do myself or anyone else any good by ignoring my feelings, masquerading around like I have everything together.

Death sucks, losing my dad has been one of the hardest things I have ever gone through, that I still go though. Sometimes I have wished him back so much, but that grief and loss have enabled me in ministering to people and so I will not be ashamed to feel it when it bubbles up inside me. I miss him, I miss what he won’t be here for, that I don’t really know who he was, and that I don’t get to go to him when I wish I could.