I was doing just fine tonight. I’d celebrated my sister’s birthday earlier and we’d all had a grand time (except for a food allergy scare with my nephew, but even that turned out fine in the end).
Then I saw a short video of my recently deceased cat Lucy kneading the pillow next to mine, getting ready for one of her patented naps. I wanted so badly to reach through my computer screen and pull her out if only for one more night beside me. My heart still aches for moments like these that I know will never come again.
I know that you can’t short-cut the grieving process, whether it’s for a pet or for a brother or sister, husband or wife, son or daughter. It’s not a process that you ever get through, but a process where you learn to live with a new normal, like an amputee learns to live without an arm or a leg.
I’m also learning how very deep the grace of God is. I’m learning that His arms are indeed strong enough to carry and long enough to save those who feel they are drowning in sorrow and grief.
I know that faith in God doesn’t always make the road easy, but it makes it possible. I’ve learned when you’ve exhausted all your own strength and peace and joy, God becomes your strength and your peace and your joy.
Strength doesn’t mean the absence of weakness but persistence in the presence of it. Peace doesn’t mean that there’s no conflict or storms, but the knowledge that God can still calm the waves and winds of your soul. Joy doesn’t mean the absence of sorrow and pain but the ultimate belief that God can transform those griefs into gold and work even the worst possible circumstances into something far more beautiful than you could ever have dreamed.
I’m resting in the strength of God tonight. Soon, I’ll go to the shelter and bring home a cat who won’t replace my Lucy but will honor her memory with all the love that’s still left to give.
God is still good, so I am still good.