• Steve McAtee

Shredded Emotions Bleed - But Just One Thing

Updated: Mar 5, 2018



Darkness, loneliness, despair: feelings all too familiar to my grieving human heart. The grieving, wounded, human heart. Wounded, seemingly beyond repair at times. Periodically, we all feel the loneliness and get caught up wondering how things could have come out differently. What did we do wrong? If only I had spent more time with him. How did this happen–the death of the one I love? It still shocks me to think he is gone. Enticed to nestle back into looking at life through dark shrouds, I feel helpless when the evil one serves up an ace accusation like, “You could have been a better father to Jack in so many ways.” “You should have given more of yourself to him while he was here.” “You were so selfish, you idiot.” Like a bully in the schoolyard, evil wanders about looking for cracks in the mantel of grace, suggesting everything he can to make me feel despair by illustrating my shortcomings.

All around us are Jack’s things: his poetry, his clothes, his skis, snowboard, notes, papers. They speak words of sorrow–dark, lonely, despairing sorrow. They remain as a memorial where they confront us, reminding us of the hands that shaped them, escorting us back face-to-face with the life that once was. Slowly, the tears come. Emotions shredded fresh every morning to drink.


Do I really want to be remain here, on a precipice of hopelessness? There is no doubt I cannot ever put behind me the memory of Jack, nor should I. I miss the one who is gone, but must it master me for the rest of my life? This is not about what I have already gone through, what has elapsed; the past, the cold burning pain escorting death. Can I freely admit I have not arrived, that I don't have all the answers? I must face my grief, but I don’t have to live in it, wrapped in the shame of asking only if. There is more to this.


When I lean in, I'm reminded of God’s grace. When I press on teary eyed, I feel like I have been hunted down. It is God who has chased after me my whole life. He was there all the time, reminding us I am reminded that comfort is not my number one priority. Grief is a challenge, a challenge to press on, a challenge to dream big dreams. There will come a time when I will see Jesus face to face. But until then, there is just one thing: press on to know that I know Him. He is with those of us grieving, challenging and nudging me toward Jesus. Yesterday's despair is overshadowed by God showing He is clearly not finished with me. I feel everyday the relief of a life with God. Don't get me wrong. Its far from perfect. But I see the big picture much more clearly since Jack's death.


Sometimes I feel like I am going mad, but those times are few and farther between no. I want to know his name, just as the wind and the waves know his name. So, do I, want to know his name and feel it written on my heart. I want to know the name of the one who has so wondrously reached out for me in my grief. God has used my shredded emotions to beckon me onward to Jesus. No turning back now. Only the solemn joy of seeing heaven in my minds eye.


“I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But ONE THING I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

PHILIPPIANS 3:13-14


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