"In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to the one who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission."
~ Hebrews 5:7
"I've already lost her, but her body just doesn't know it yet," a man who has been married for over fifty years shared with me about his wife who no longer speaks or knows anyone because of her illness.
For this man, he has already begun grieving the loss of his wife, even though she is still "physically," present. During my visit he shared how the two of them would have long discussions, and, "enjoyed so many things together."
"This just is a type of loneliness I never expected."
We all know something about loneliness, but this type of loneliness is almost too hard for this man to experience.
More and more I realize that our society has created ways to avoid pain. Not only physical pain, but our emotional and mental pain as well. Someone recently told me, "We not only bury our dead as if they were alive, but we bury our pains as if they were not really there. "
The man caring for what is left of his wife shared, "I have become so aware that I am really afraid of being alone."
It caused me to remember a time about ten years ago when my daughter left to go to college, and I found myself living alone for the first time in over twenty years. It was a time of great change, revelations about my own self, and then learning how to accept life in a state of a "new normal."
As my conversation came to a close with this man, I was reminded that when Jesus no longer sensed God's presence, he cried out, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"
The man then shared with me, "I haven't gotten to this point yet, but I am getting closer each day."
The loneliness of the cross then became the loneliness of the tomb, which led to the resurrection. While the man is experiencing a loneliness that is difficult, his journey is bringing him closer to God. It was towards the end of our conversation that we were both reminded that at the end of the journey, Jesus was able to share, "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit."
In our loneliness we are brought closer to God, and our ability to surrender and trust that God will always be present.
Stay in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2019
Rev. G. Todd Williams lives in the Houston metro area and is a Hospice Chaplain at Essential Hospice, Webster, Texas, and is an ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor.