And I am confident that, by his grace, I can carry out today’s assignment. I am confident that I can bear the burden of this day’s sorrow until night falls and my eyes close in rest. I am confident that I can be faithful in today’s calling for as long as the day lasts. I don’t need to think about tomorrow or next week or next year. I don’t need the strength to carry the burdens of any other day and don’t need the resolve to remain faithful through any other circumstance.
I miss my son today. That goes without saying, I suppose, since I miss him every day. But on this day the pain is particularly sharp, the ache especially deep. I miss my friend, I miss my brother, I miss my protégé. I miss the son of my youth, the delight of my heart. I miss seeing him and hugging him, I miss teaching him and learning from him, I miss the sound of his voice and the cackle of his laugh. I miss having a son at all. I just plain miss my Nick.
The time between now and when he went to heaven has passed so quickly, yet so slowly. It often feels like it was just yesterday that we received the phone call, just yesterday that we endured the funeral, just yesterday that we watched the casket be lowered into the cold, dark ground. But at the same time it feels like it was a lifetime ago. We were different people back then, a different family with different desires, different assumptions, a different understanding of life and death and the God who is sovereign over it all.
This life is a dash, a blip, a vapor, yet just as truly a slog, a marathon, a long and wearying pilgrimage.
And just as the time between now and when Nick went to heaven has passed both quickly and slowly, I expect that the time between now and when I go to heaven will pass both quickly and slowly. This life is a dash, a blip, a vapor, yet just as truly a slog, a marathon, a long and wearying pilgrimage. I have often observed that while the brevity of life is best seen in retrospect, it’s the slowness of life that tends to be felt in the moment. It may be brief as we look back on it, but it’s long as we live it.
And it feels long today. It looks long today. It looks long as I gaze into the future and see a road laid out before me that may well lead through months, years, decades. It looks longer still as I consider the heavy burden of grief God has called me to bear. I am confident I can carry a great weight for a short distance, but far less confident that I can carry it for many miles or many years. I just don’t know how I will bear up under this sorrow if I have to carry it all the way to the end.