Heartache and Light

Seven years ago today I suddenly, unexpectedly lost a friend, a colleague, my boss, the senior pastor of our church. In that one day, many things changed for many of us. For me, it began a seven year journey of challenges that are best described as a series of gut punches.

As today dawned, I remembered. Some things you do not forget. Some hurts stay etched on your soul.

I reached out to those I know who are hurting more and remembering today too. That helped a little.

In my journal, I noted that my feelings surprise me. In seven years,  it seems I would be more healed from that loss. But, today I can feel an actual physical pain in the same broken place in my heart where this grief lives. It feels gently healed but ever-so-tender, like new pink skin is growing there, very thin and delicate. It feels like I should shield it.

I don’t know what to do on a gray and achy day like this except to honor my feelings. To name them. To bathe them in prayer and in God’s Light. To say, “Yes, that happened and it really hurt, really mattered and really changed me.” A mentor once told me that our tears baptize our feelings. Today, my tears are at work in the Holy act of baptizing this loss once again.

God is a God of healing and so much healing has happened in these seven years. I celebrate that. I see it. I live it every day.

The entry in Jesus Calling today, February 19, says, You need to remember who I am in all my Power and Glory.  What a Word this is. Even before this loss, God’s Glory has of course been on display. In the midst of it and in the years since, God has continued to shine.

Creation shows us this all the time: Pure darkness, then the first light of dawn. Heavy, angry storm clouds then a rainbow. Moonlight, starlight on a previously black night. God saying, Yes, you’ve had darkness but remember who I am in all my Power and Glory.

Today, I remember. I remember my friend. I recall the deep loss. I revisit the tender ache of it. And, most of all, I remember who God is.

Dr. Cindy Ryan is a pastor, a wife, a mother of three, friend and colleague of Dr. Ken Diehm, breast cancer survivor, Mimosa to Keller. 

10 thoughts on “Heartache and Light”

  1. What a blessing to read this tonight. Tomorrow is the 8th anniversary of our 26 year old son’s death in a car accident. Tonight as my husband and I were preparing for the gut punch of grief which will hit us around 1am – the time he went to Heaven – I read him your blog. It describes perfectly how we shelter that place in our heart – where we hold our grief tight. God holds us while we hold the grief. And you’re right – with time we always think next year will be easier. But then the calendar turns to February and we begin to anticipate the 20th – the date that changed our lives forever. Thank you for allowing your words to provide reminders that God knows – all our pain, thoughts, and worries. He knows.

    1. I’m praying for you and your husband as you brace yourselves for tomorrow. I do believe God knows our tender, heartbroken spots and gives us just the right amount of healing Light for that day or season. Prayers for peace for you all.

  2. Cindy, so much has happened in the last seven years! The day Ken died is one of those days etched in my memory – where I was and what I was doing. Steve and I were about to make a transitional move from our house to an apartment, as we decided whether to move from Grapevine to Denton to be near my daughter, son-in-law and grandson. That move did happen, and so did the one to Denton. I don’t think my heart ever moved from FUMC though. While I know the loss is felt more deeply for his family and those of you who worked with him and came to know him so well, I felt grief for the loss of a man who had lead the church family so well and a man who God took in His perfect timing but way before we were ready. Thanks for writing through the celebrations and the grief! Miss seeing you!

  3. Yes, raw pain that I think I should be over. But, I wouldn’t trade the pain for never knowing him. Thank you for the reminder that I’m not alone, that I’m not alone in the past 7 years of struggle. God is good. He can be trusted even when things don’t make sense. Thank you Cindy💜.

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