Goodbye is the hardest word

“This place is so beautiful it hurts”
That was the only recurring thought in my head.
In my heart, there was only pain.
We had finally arrived at the cemetery. The most beautiful  I had ever seen. It  was an open field with green grass which made a stark contrast against the morning blue sky.  A huge tree stood at the end of the field. And  close to her grave there was a palm tree.
It had been two days since she went to be with her Lord,  and I didn’t get the chance to say good-bye.
The sun mingled with the clouds. I could feel both the heat on my skin and my hot tears rolling down my cheeks.
I stood on the grass– feet together, all the muscles of my body tight. I wrapped my arms around myself only to feel he acute pain of loneliness– even amidst the heartbroken crowd of believers who had come to the burial service.
Then I looked away from my pain and saw another grieving face. I am sure his suffering was more intense, more real, closer than mine. It was the face of a loving husband carrying the grey coffin of his 51-year-old wife. They had promised till “death do us part,” and by the Lord’s grace, they were together till the very end.
The whole service was beautiful. There are no words to describe the paradox between grief and joy, sadness and comfort. We celebrated God in the life of His precious daughter and were encouraged to hope in Him.
Jesus was significantly evident in the life of doña Ika. He saved her and sustained her all through her life. He gave her a great marriage, and three beautiful, godly daughters. She had a passionate devotion to speak truth and show love to other women. That passion resulted in even more “daughters” joining her family. Her life of ministry challenged all of us, myself included. But at the end of the day…at the end of her life, none of these things proved to be better than her Savior. This day was a time of heartache, but also a day of joy.
Jesus had come to take her Home. The happiest day of her life had finally arrived and she was now enjoying Him forever.
We will see you soon, Ika! Someday there will be no more tears for us. Someday we will meet again. We will all sit together at the wedding feast of the Lamb.
The best is yet to come.
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