I was sitting in the house this afternoon when I heard the door open and an army of little feet clomping across our wood floors. The rhythmic thumping of those little feet is the happiest sound on earth to me. It signals that the little people have arrived, and with them comes all of the sounds and energy and drama and laughter and love that their personalities provide for the Papa in me.
Today was the 10th Anniversary of the home-going of Josiah Lee Herring, my grandson who passed on to heaven just shy of his 5th birthday. It’s hard to believe that a decade has passed. We spent the day together as a family. We ate at his favorite restaurant, visited the cemetery, and watched videos of his life. It was beyond a blessing to hear his voice again and to laugh at his antics. His full-speed-ahead personality made me smile because I loved him, and weep because I missed him.
Looking back over this past decade, I am so grateful that God has sustained our family and brought healing to the ragged edges of our loss. I am so deeply thankful for His sustaining grace in Jason and Suzie’s and Jason Jr.’s life, and how He was there in the valley of the shadow of death with them. He still is. I do not mean to suggest that all pain is gone and that sorrow and tears have been banished – those are to be embraced rather than shunned. Isaiah 53:3 says that Jesus is a “man of sorrows, acquainted with grief.”
The notion that suddenly (or eventually) the sorrow somehow dissipates is a fable that has been created by the empty slogans of people who have never suffered deep loss. Why do we feel ashamed of sorrow as though it is some sort of leprous emotion? Why do we hide our tears when our Savior wept openly at the death of a friend? The ability to sorrow and weep is a gift from God and is a sure sign of a living heart and a greater love. The pain remains and the tears come like rogue waves, but God has somehow enabled us all to live through the unthinkable. We are here. We live on in our sorrow and with our pain. We live in His grace.
As I heard those little feet and the excited voices of my grandkids who so wonderfully invaded my house tonight, I longed to hear one more set of feet and one more voice that I have not heard now for 10 long years. In all of the joy of tonight’s noise, the silence of his absence was tangible. For now I must be reminded by home videos and pictures, but one glorious day I will see Josiah again.