Today I went to a Methodist Church. It was not an effort to fix my struggle in my faith. It was not seeking answers that may be different than the ones in the Baptist church. It was not for a church service. I went to a Methodist Church to a memorial service.
A couple near and dear to my heart lost their first born son on Thursday. I had no idea what the cause of death was. I didn’t even know their son very well since he had grown up. My memories of him were from when he was a child. I went to that service with a heavy heart and so very sorry that this couple had ended up on this path of child loss with me. They have loved and prayed me through many hard times beginning in my 20s. They are truly special people. They are truly God’s people.
The preacher leading the service spoke of their son’s struggle with addiction. He lost the struggle in this life but God’s grace had taken him to the next life. My heart broke again for these dear friends. My son lost his struggle with mental illness. People whisper suicide and drug overdose like it is shamefully. I want everyone to stop whispering. And not just stop whispering but change your focus and your attitude. A person’s exit from this life is just that, an exit. It does not diminish the joy they brought to this life. It does not diminish the love that they gave and received in this life. It does not diminish their life at all.
The preacher spoke about how everyone he asked said their son had a big heart. My memories of him as a child include that big heart and a big love for his baby brother. He reminded us that the heart is what Jesus is looking at within each of us. We all struggle and fall short of perfection in this life. Even in death, their son is giving from his big heart. I received the gift of being reminded just how big God’s grace is. It is big enough to cover me even in my struggle to reconcile how God could allow my son to die. It is big enough to cover me even though I am angry with God.
My heart is hurting for my dear friends. I know what the road ahead of them is like. It is painfully, devastating, and seemingly unbearable. It is soul crushing, but God’s grace is enough to cover them both as they figure out living with their loss.