If they were nice and wonderful dreams where I find myself wrapped in her arms and held in her gaze, oh, I'd want to stay in that land for more time than I can possibly afford.
|Me and Grannie|
Instead, in my dreams this past week, she's been dying all over again.
I wake up weeping, my grief uncontainable. She's been gone almost four long years, but when you wake up reliving one of the most painful experiences of your life, wow. It all comes back like it's just happened yesterday.
Four years ago, my grandmother died on Easter Sunday. It makes sense in a variety of ways why Lent is a season of grief for me. Not only am I in the process of unearthing spiritual weeds and prepping life space for new growth (which often times means grieving my sin that rooted those weeds deep), I grieve the loss of her. The most intense part of her cancer dying took place over the span of Lent. God was preparing her for a new season. A season of death turned new life.
Four years ago, I was also training for my first marathon and I completed it in between my last two visits with her. Just last month, I crossed the finish line for the 3rd time. Even though it's almost 4 years and two more marathons later, I still wanted to call her and tell her I had finished. Because she'd listen to every single detail and drink it in and she'd tell me she was proud.
I've spent the last four years grieving her death, some times certainly more intense than others, but now I find I'm grieving the loss of her for a different reason.
See, she was the one person I thought loved me unconditionally. She was always proud of me. She was always supportive. It seemed that in her eyes I could do no wrong.
I was afraid to lose that.
But as I've been reading Love Idol, as I've been asking God to pour into me deep this undeniable fact that I am already preapproved by Him, I realize that perhaps I just never let her see what I did wrong.
I filtered facts. I dressed them up. I put on my best behavior when I was around her. All because I was afraid of losing her love, her encouragement, her undying support.
The truth is, one can love unconditionally on this earth. I believe that. But one cannot always hide disappointment or refrain from being disappointed by the behaviors of others. It's nearly impossible to always approve of your loved one's choices. And see, that's where I got mixed up. I had the wrong equation.
Unending human approval ≠ Unconditional love.
Humanly speaking, you can love without approving. You can love despite bad decision-making. I realize this may not be revelation to some of you, but this is earth-shattering to me:
Unconditional love is so strong because it is not dependent upon approval. Because grace can step in, because grace is a requirement, because love doesn't demand perfection.
We can love the people around us despite their lack, despite our lack because God loves us first. Because He's already preapproved us and therefore, we have no right or space to take that away. Not from ourselves. Not from anyone else.
I don't need my grandmother's approval anymore, even if she was here.
Because finally, finally, finally, in the depths of my soul, I realize it wasn't her place to give it to me. I didn't need it from her because I already had it from Him. I just didn't know it then.
So this grief, this grief for my Grannie, it's intense right now because no longer am I grieving the loss of having access to "approving words." I'm just grieving the loss of her. Two so very different things.
I loved so much about her. I miss her very presence. I miss her fun and her quirkiness and how she adored being with my kids, even when they were being brats. I miss how she gathered her family. I miss her stroking my hair, my 31 year-old head on her chest as she lay dying.
My grief is laid bare, my chest ripped open because I can see her fully for who she was, good and bad, and my vision is not longer obscured by what I thought she gave me.
She's more beautiful to me today, a complete picture, one who was capable of being disappointed in me, than she ever has been in my memory. Because love is stronger when it's not dependent upon approval.
Love is stronger when grace enters in.
Love is stronger when grace is a requirement.
Love is stronger when approval isn't given or needed because it's simply already had.
|Click here to pre-order|
My laptop is dead, but if I'm able, I'm planning on linking up here:
Linking up with Emily for Imperfect Prose, Jennifer Lee for #tellHisstory, Michell for DYWW, Women to Women , Sharita for Everyday Jesus, Lyli for Thought Provoking Thursday, and Laura for Quitting Thursday.