Tuesday, September 24, 2019

The promise for Lazarus

It has been three weeks since Philip passed away. One of the hardest challenges now is finding the answer to the question "How are you?". Honestly, if I said I'm fine, it would be a lie really. And if I said I'm not, it will leave both of us (you more so) in a very awkward position. So I'm often quiet when I get that question, to which they will ask the poor mister how I am. 

But in case you still wonder if I am fine, I am fine enough to run the household, to still look pretty (ownself say ownself), to eat my meals and even laugh too. But no, I am not okay yet, which I had learnt just within weeks of P's death, that this grieving may continue till the day I die. Meeting up with more than 2 people (me included) may make me feel anxious. Even doing routine things I did before P's birth, feels different and empty. Almost everyday, there will be moments where I sit down and wallow in the void and just cry.
In short, my days are basically grouped into two - a bad day with some good moments or a good day with many bad moments.

It didn't help that it was my birthday a few days back (which left most of my friends in an awkward position whether to wish me a happy birthday or not). So just within weeks of sharing Philip's passing, my Facebook wall came to live once again with friends wishing me a Happy Birthday. My phone would buzz every few minutes with greetings from friends far and near. I would usually have acknowledged the greeting and just indulge in the attention given for that day. This year though, I just kept quiet.

The greetings I received from my Facebook were left unread, the messages I got from my phone were left unanswered. I was not interested in any of the messages related to my birthday. So yes, I had chosen misery over joy on my birthday. Or rather I didn't allow myself to find joy. After all, since Philip (whom I named after the patron saints of joy and hope) is gone, where is my joy and hope now?

I remembered when Philip was dying, I had asked a wise priest before if God had thought if I was going to screw up and that's why He took Philip away. But that priest reminded me that it will be an insult to God for He who is generous in His love, doesn't give only to see us fail. 

On the night after Philip's first surgery, I was somehow prompted to read the passage on the raising of Lazarus. And because I hardly have any inspirations to read the Bible, I thought it was God telling me that Philip would be okay, even if the odds seemed bad. But Philip died and there's no way now that P will come back to life (especially when his remains are really in an urn). Then why give such hope, I asked. 

Unfortunately or otherwise, hope is often used as synonyms as desire or wish. My wish was that Philip would be here with me but that isn't the hope that God had promised me from the beginning. God just told me to hold on to the truth that He won't fail. 
For He who knows the agony of hoping against all odds that things could change, will understand the depth of grief when they didn't.
And for He who chose the most painful human experience to sacrifice His Son for my salvation, will also weep when mine died. 
And for He who knows how much I can and will love my son, knows that that is only a fraction of how much He already loves me.
That has been the Hope that was promised to me since Day 1.

We managed to do a small
celebration for IZ
It is unfortunate that henceforth my birthday month will always remind me of P's passing (which means I won't know if I would acknowledge next year's greetings. Actually, anything in any day will do so too). Whilst birthdays focuses on the person, I chose then to focus on the pain since it was very much of me now. The "Happy" in Happy Birthday (and no.. the word "Blessed" also won't make a difference) seems to be ironic since I am far from that.
But birthdays, as the very wise priest pointed out, serve as a reminder that God hasn't forgotten about me and has spent is still spending time on me to work on me. (Such wisdom... What am I to do when this priest passes on?!?!) And a birthday should not be the only day we celebrate and remember that fact, but the evil one is always trying to tell me otherwise.  

In all tombs, including the one which Lazarus laid, life stopped. Truth be told, though not physically, a part of my heart had died and I had retreated to a tomb when P left me. While it may not be today or tomorrow, the Hope I have been assured of, promised me that it will resurrect one day. Many have told me before that with time, things will get better. I may be wrong, but time doesn't make the hurt go away. It will however, teach me lessons to put my hope and joy on the giver rather than on His gifts and patience to continue to wait in awe for that something great that is waiting to happen.

As for now, allow Jesus to sit with this "Lazarus" in the tomb to weep and to pray together with. 

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