This morning I woke up thinking about my dad.
He passed away nearly twenty years ago, but this morning when I was in that hazy place between awake and asleep, I saw him standing at the top of the steps at his old house.
I’m sure this happened because of a TV show I saw last night. A woman in the show kept an article of clothing of someone she loved so she could have his scent with her.
When my father passed, I kept a handkerchief of his because it smelled like him.
Breathing in his scent, comforted me.
It’s strange how a sight or a sound, music or a string of words can remind us of those that have gone before us. It brings afresh the loss we feel.
I know from experience that grief never leaves; it just turns to water and ebbs and flows. Some days it’s a hurricane, a torrent of uncontrolled pain and hurt. Some days it’s a ripple, a faint inkling ever present.
But our pain is never for nothing in the economy of God the Father. He uses our sufferings, our grief, our loneliness along the journey to help others on their way.
If we allow him, he will use the very things that drew us closest to him as catalysts for his work in the lives of others.
“He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.” 2 Cor 1:4
Funny how God does that. My pain, my hurt, my grief in his hands becomes the fish and loaves used to feed others the bread of life.
My dad’s handkerchief is housed in a small wooden box that sits on my shelf in my room. It has long lost its scent, but the comfort it gives still remains.
The comfort God has given faithfully over the years, it too remains. My part is to share that comfort with others along the way as the waters of grief begin to swirl so that they may find God amid the tide.
Only you know these places in us. Give us the words to comfort those who are hurting in our sphere today. Let us be a blessing and not a burden to their wounded heart.