Monday, December 21, 2009

Gladness: Joy with Sadness

If we don't embrace life for what it is, we can't find authenticity and live fully. I have heard it said that to live is to loose...and that in order to live fully, we must learn to embrace life on life's terms and grieve. (Dr. Chip Dodd)

Grief is our opportunity to state what matters to us...to communicate to ourselves and others what we deeply value. Our tears speak to this loss...to this value. It's as if our tears offer the world something deep within us...this is me....this is who I am...this is what I value...this is what I've lost. If you wish to know me, you must understand these tears.

Summar Jean Swain matters to me...more than I know how to communicate. Her 7th birthday was yesterday...and I'm feeling the full weight of her not being here with us. She has been with the Lord since she was 2 months old. I struggle as dad without her embrace...her presence on this side of heaven. Life is one too few for me. This is me. This is who I am. This is what I value. She is what I've lost. If you wish to know me, you must understand these tears.

As a follower of Jesus, I don't grieve without hope. But I still grieve. The joy of the Gospel has fallen on me. Hope is bigger. But this doesn't mean that life on this side of heaven is void of suffering, disappointment, struggle, etc. Living "in the in between" (between Genesis 3 and Revelation 20) necessarily involves this.

I feel Gladness today...joy from the Hope of the Gospel...and sadness at the losses in my life.

4 comments:

julieleavitt said...

Do you know, I was just thinking of Summar Jean yesterday. I didn't know that it was her birthday, but I was looking at my own newborn girl, thinking what it must have been like for you all. To think of the love and energy already poured into her little life, even at such an early stage...the attachment, pride, and joy we feel when we behold the very image of God, the very image US, in our child and then to have to trust God with WHATEVER He chooses to do with their life. My heart aches, and my eyes shed tears for you guys, but I am thankful for the honesty with which you guys deal with your grief...and for how you share how your faith in God has deepened because of trials. Your testimony has helped me to hold my children with open hands, in those moments of fear or "what if's".
Praise Him, and thank you for reminding us that there is still hope and joy in the midst of the hardships of this life.

...Praying for you all!

stephanie_santos said...

As I watched this video a week ago my mind was instantly connected to the beautiful Swain family! I cannot fathom such loss but this woman does and beautiful worship is what followed... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZE33ejdgWIY love you Swain Family!

Team Reedy said...

I love you and your tears, and am thankful for the example to lay those aches out there. Summar would have been an amazing 7-year-old. I'm praying for you guys as you continue to grieve your beautiful little girl. I hope to see you soon!

Love,
Samantha

chesley said...

i was thinking about her just the other day..knowing her birthday was coming up. I can only imagine how difficult this time of year (and every other day really) is without her! praying for you guys!!