Setting in a chapel service I found my self transformed yet again. My life forever altered in my journey to identify with my saviour. I sat there participating as we were led to prepare ourselves to receive the body and blood of Christ in a celebration of His sacrifice. The first thing we were asked to do was look back, to close our eyes and remember Him. We were encouraged to share a word or phrase that described our thought. One said “forgiveness”, another “mercy”, another “acceptance”. Many more descriptions were verbalized and I identified with all of them as I thanked God for all He was and for all He did for me. Then someone said,” sacrificed His Son” and while I cannot fully appreciate all that God felt and went through in the moment of His son’s agony and death, I had felt, with every once of my human capacity, the agony and grief of a father’s heart toward the death of his son. That statement, “sacrificed His Son”, started to set in motion what would soon be a stampede of emotion.
As if on cue, the Holy Spirit directing, our leader began to direct us to look forward, to heaven. She encouraged us to again share what we thought heaven would be like, what would we do and how we thought we might respond. Many words were used until a woman was prompted to say, “I can only imagine.” I have to say a small panic began to develop in me, “oh, no! I bet they sing that song!” You see, if they were to sing that song it would only be the 3rd time I would have heard the song since Jacob’s death. Not that it hadn’t come on the radio hundreds of times since then but when it did the radio would be turned down or to another station until it was safely over. You see days leading up to Jacob’s death that was the song he had been singing over and over. It was played at his funeral, several years later my oldest son sang it at my request and I had a melt down in front of my congregation and this was about to be the third time.
Sure enough, I heard the words, “let’s sing ‘I can only Imagine”. I felt like running out of the room but I couldn’t because I was one of the servers at this celebration. I was going to have to help serve. But if I had a melt down here, the focus would move from the preparation and focus on receiving the Lord’s sacrifice to my emotional break. I knew this could not be turned into empathy for me but needed to stay focused on Jesus’ sacrifice.
So the singing began and I put my head in my hands and prayed with everything in me. The grief came in waves over me, I began to shake from head to toe in my seat and tears flowed like little streams from my eyes but I was able to remain silent. Just when it was about to overtake me two wonderful friends came to my aid. One stood next to me and just place her hand on my shoulder the other sitting next to me did the same. They knew the power of the song in my life and helped me pray for God’s strength and healing, and when it didn’t even appear that I could breathe, they did that for me too.
I have to admit I don’t remember much that happened after that, even my role in serving the bread. But I am so thankful for the song because the memories connected with that song came flooding back and I was able to experience them once again. My grief is my connection to my little boy and to avoid it is to avoid the memory of him. While I cannot live in that place of grief very long I am thankful for the moments God tricks me and takes me to that place. I am also thankful to the Spirit and those he sent to pray so that moment didn’t become about me.
Jesus is my source, He is my help in my time of trouble and need. I am thankful that I have a better understanding of our father’s heart, I look forward to the day I will be able to share in the other experience He had as well. The reunion!