The phone rang at one a.m. Tom’s sister Margie had died in a car accident. We stood in the darkness and looked outside at oursnow covered world and felt it’s coldness seep into my soul. Winter in Canada is often used as a symbol for grief.
When someone we love dies, our hearts become empty, vulnerable, like the great bare sticks we call trees that wave in the cold winter wind. Our frozen lakes and rivers appear as devoid of life as we feel. We’re alone and frozen.
Yet, new life is also a part of winter. We know there are buds hidden in the branches of those naked trees. Under that blanket of snow new life is hibernating. Hidden in the pain and loneliness of grief, God offers us new life. We come together at funerals, bringing memories, hugs and comfort. Tears flow. The life giving water of love is shared. Laughter bursts forth, God’s healing energy surrounds us. We celebrate the joys of the past, lament the pain of the present and prepare our hearts for the possibilities of the future.
God has created us with life’s seasons. Death is one of those seasons. Like winter, death carries the promise of new life, full of growth and beauty and joy. In this life, we can’t see that new beginning. We know only the Bible message. “There will be no tears, no sadness, no troubles.” Whether or not we can see or focus on that new life, it is there waiting for all of us.
In our grief, we hang on to the assurance that God’s new birth will come.
St. Paul said: I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. (Romans 8:18)