The (Perplexing) Friendship of Grief
I hoped I could avoid him today.
I have learned to recognize his approach.
Before I saw his dark grey cape and steeley eyes
My stomach tightened,
And I knew the stabbing pain in my heart would soon follow.
“No! Not this time! I can’t take you anymore!” I muttered
To myself, not wanting
To give him the pleasure of knowing I saw him.
Confident yet quaking, I approached.“How many times must I refuse you?
Only briefly entertain you?
I’m done with you, old man!
You won’t torment me today. Not today.
I will not submit to your invasion of my peace.
Your crushing words.
Your reminders of regret.”
Quickly I turned
To find something to distract me from his foreboding presence.
To flee his stalking lure.
And then I see Him.
He found me once again!
How does He always know?
Know when I’m running?
Or angry at the intruder’s surprise pursuit?
Or fighting the exhaustion of his railing words?
But oh, yes!
Part of me wants to run to Him,
To yet again experience His embrace.
But then I remember those perplexing words,
Words repeatedly spoken since I was a little girl.
Confusing words. Hard words.
“He is not your enemy, Little One.
I made him.
I know him well.
He appears dark and frightening.
But he is your friend.”
“No, YOU are my friend!
He frightens; you comfort.
He makes me cry; you wipe my tears.
He stalks me with regret!
He confuses and haunts
And reminds me of how hard love and life are.
How I never know when he will appear
With yet another reason to mourn and reel from sadness.
He comes uninvited and leaves me aching.
You heal and stay.
He is my friend? I still don’t understand.”
He cradled my face in rough, scarred hands.
Hands I had come to know and love.
The familiarity of those hands
Bending to gently kiss my forehead
“Since you were a frightened little girl
Running from that evil man,
Watching loved ones die,
Feeling alone and filled with sorrow,
I have helped you become less afraid
And remember, he always makes you see me.
Isn't that a good thing?"
His eyes twinkled like I'd seen them do so
Many times before.
For a moment I felt better.
He was right; anything that led me to Him couldn't be
But I was soon puzzled again.
“Why? Why must I welcome him?
I’ve tried hard to avoid him, you know.”
“Yes, I know.”
He gently yet firmly put His arm
Around my shoulder
And led me slowly away.
"We will talk more later,
But for now, let me just say,
Your brothers and parents are having a wonderful day together.
Your mom is quite the cook, by the way."