In the pale darkness of our Brooklyn bedroom, we prayed.
Honest prayers, out loud, are like a wrecking ball for the walls I build to protect my grief. He prayed first and I breathed out my soft echoes in mmhmms. A day’s worth of silent wrestling caught up with me in his clear words, wrapped in our white wedding sheets. We are one now, but I wanted to roll toward the blank wall and blink away my sadness in solitude. Alone is painful and that feels more appropriate. But when he finished his honest prayers, I started my own with a sigh.
Keep me from jealousy.
Forgive any bitterness that tries to take root in me, O God.
Help me to speak grief words openly.
Teach me to walk with Patrick in this and not shut him out.
It went on like that, lit by streetlights, and I realized I had much to confess. I walked my words up to the altar and tossed them down, like flowers on the casket we never buried. A strange and honest offering. What I most wanted to pray for, selfishly, was more time on this side of heaven.
I am jealous of those Will loved well and of those who knew him best. I am bitter for the moments I didn’t spend with him and for the moments I wasted in his presence. I am bitter at a world that suffers death every day, for the wars on top of wars of death and none of it weighing the weight of this one man.
It was just the scratch of our midnight voices that hit the silent ceiling, a strange and honest plea for some ground to catch our freefall.
“I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” Psalm 27:13-14
We believe and we are praying for more belief. We are confident in the goodness of the Lord, of the eternity He rules and the table He prepares. We are confident that He is our home. We are confident in His invitation to “Come,” though His beckoning feels painfully far off.
Two soft voices melodied these words over the string arrangement while Patrick and I took communion at our wedding. We wanted everyone to know about the invitation that altered our lives forever, Jesus’s invitation to “Come.”
Today we sang this same invitation during communion, but the melody from almost two months ago felt a world away. I am now the child in the last verse, full of fret and grief – the child who is not cast out. Even that child has an invitation to sit at the celebration table and take part in the feast, maybe especially that child.
Come ev’ry child, with fret or grief;
He will not cast us out
He will meet our unbelief
and drive away our doubt.
Come, cloaked in grief. Come, bring your sadness to the feast table. Come, bring your questions and doubts and weary tears to the day the Lord has made. Come.
Come, he will not cast us out. He will meet our every unbelief and hear our every doubt. He will comfort and keep us at the celebration table, when we grieve and sorrow and pray honest prayers in the pale darkness.
“Come, He will not cast us out.”
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6 thoughts on “come | he will not cast us out”
Amen-he will not cast us out…
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Moving towards each other- sinners both- singing and praying and grieving and loving. “He will meet our unbelief and drive away the doubt.” It is the work of grief. And the process of purification.
“It is the work of grief and the process of purification.” Yes, mom, it is.
Sometimes it feels like he is casting us out. CS Lewis describes this feeling well in ‘A Grief Observed.’ Like we turn to God in this, and it feels like he has shut and double-locked the doors on us, keeping us out. That’s kind of how I feel sometimes.
It comes in waves, doesn’t it?