Fight For Joy (grief after three years)

“The darker the night, the brighter the stars,
The deeper the grief, the closer is God!”
-Fyodor Dostoyevsky

I feel like I’ve written endlessly about the topic of grief. As if it is the only constant in life, where all relationships, in one way or another, end up. As if it not only holds all the cards, but stacks them neatly into a house that could crumble at the slightest breeze. As if death has the final say, and we are always haunted by its specter.
But for me, writing about what I feel is catharsis. So, it’s probably telling that I haven’t written anything in a while. That sometimes you move into that stage of grief where feeling anything is an outright challenge.  This blog began for me as a desperate attempt to come to grips with the goodness of God in a world that sometimes indicates anything but.

And, as I believe life is a journey and we never stop learning, I don’t have any neat and tidy answers for you. I can’t tell you with absolute sincerity that I never have doubts or fears. I can’t tell you that I don’t find myself crying with little provocation. I can’t say that I don’t get a knot in my chest when I think about the people in my life who are gone way too soon. I can’t tell you that injustice doesn’t make me question why.

I think about absence, which hurts a ton more than outright rejection, and my mind is drawn back to the good times, which overwhelm me in the way that simultaneously feeling joy and pain does. How two opposing ideals–joy and pain–can be so irrevocably intertwined and cause me to understand myself even less.

Three years ago from last Tuesday, one of my dearest friends was involved in a hiking accident and fell from a hundred feet and died. 

I’ve written it so matter-of-factly so many times because I need to understand it as reality. Sometimes, even three years later, it’s so hard to fathom, impossible to comprehend. The unfortunate thing about trying to wrap your head around something so much is that it leaves you with a terrible migraine.

Tuesday, I came back to my hometown and spent the day with some of my closest friends. We all went to the park we used to hang out in and then the cemetery. Sitting around Jordan’s grave was different this time. Before, I’d almost always go alone. But surrounded by the friends he helped knit together, we laughed, we talked, we cracked jokes and reminisced. It is times like those that give me hope, that show me, no matter what, that I am not alone. That the God of the universe who I so love to question, knows exactly what I need and pours it out lavishly. That he is not content to leave me in my grief that feels so like fear, as Lewis says, but instead shows me perfect love to cast out fear.


Out of His Love, he replaces that feeble house of cards with stone and mortar, and refuses to give some immovable fate the victory. He is a God who loves his children so much that even in their pain, he gives them good gifts, relationships that do not end with this side of eternity, reasons to rejoice though the pain is sometimes so intense.

Leo Tolstoy said that “only people who are capable of loving strongly can also suffer great sorrow, but this same necessity of loving serves to counteract their grief and heals them.” And I do not always believe that is true. But on days like today, I do.

I do because on this week three years ago my world was shattered. I was like a flattened house of cards, but I know a carpenter who was also called the great physician and binds up all my wounds and floods my weakest moments with his insurmountable strength.

I’ve learned after these 3 years to fight for joy. And you will fight. Because it is by no means easy to be joyful, but on days like today I believe it is not only necessary, but possible.

5 thoughts on “Fight For Joy (grief after three years)”

  1. Reblogged this on Bob's Opinion and commented:
    Sometimes we need to just listen to what the Spirit says, grief is a good thing, providing it does draw us closer to the Comfort of God’s touch.

  2. I’m feeling grief over the deaths of people who lived long lives (my mother, my friend’s dad.) Even my friend who died of cancer lived long enough to (nearly) raise two sons. I can’t imagine losing someone so young. Keep fighting for joy.

  3. Hi there. I feel like I’ve stepped into a private conversation. I know I’m following you – it says that just above my head. But, sorry, I don’t know who you are, your name, what gender. What I know is that you have a maturity in your writing that comes from grief. Still raw grief. How do you get over your buddy’s death? So brutal. So final. In the way it happened. It’s not like Jordan had a terminal illness and you had time to say goodbye. That was the one thing you didn’t have. Jordan – he was literally ripped from your life. I am so glad you are finding it helpful to write down and share your feelings. And just in case you’re thinking ‘who is this creep?’ I have two daughters – both grown up. But what we have in common is that, I too, write about ‘loss’ – check out my page when next you’re coming my way! I look forward to the next edition. Be blessed – Reuben

  4. I’ve lived a life filled with sorrow, grief, and pain but Jesus turns it to joy and I am comforted to know that my relationship with Him won’t end, it won’t end in grief. I’m sorry for your loss. I’m not a young woman but no matter how many days I have to wake up and look death in the eye, I still hurt when death takes someone I love and also takes a little more of me. Jesus also, hurt and died, as the Son of Man. Life in a dying world is painful for all, we can’t escape it. There have been times that I hurt so much that I didn’t care about God’s Will or His plan but even when I don’t care, God doesn’t abandon me. Eventually, I work through to the other side and find joy waiting for me, right where I left it.

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