When the minister met her, she was old enough to be his grandmother and she was in a hospital bed recovering from agonizing surgery. The first words she said were, "My son died in Vietnam." It had been 20 years, and she spoke from pain deeper far than her physical pain. She grieved her soldier son and missed him daily. She was lonely for him.
Grief is love bereft, and neither love nor grief ever ends, ever. Eventually, if we live long enough, we each lose somebody we love. Human beings share grief in common.
Grief embraces us with a deep and invisible loneliness. No one sees it except you. No one feels it but you. Everybody else seems to forget. Grief is often isolating.
Over the years this woman learned that she needed to speak about her grief. Speaking made her less lonely. Grief demands acknowledgment because grief defines us even when we're smiling, even while we're enjoying ourselves. It gives us depth, wisdom and understanding about life, and hopefully about our faith, too.
Saint Paul says, "Love never ends." Neither does grief. One comes from the other. You can't have one with out risking the other. Grief is a measure of love lost. If we never loved we would never grieve. It's a tough exchange.
Knowing this, do you choose to love?
On this Valentine's Day, we pray to God for those who mourn and ask that you grant them the strength and endurance to bear it and face another day. May God bless them with joy, true smile with hope.
Love never end.