My body shakes and my breath quickens. My chest rises and collapses and tears fall so steadily that they merely graze the skin of my cheeks. Face digging deep into the cushion of the church pew and knees bruised from pressing into the hard floor of the sanctuary, I surrender again to the mourning, to the longing. The yearning for my three –year- old son to be alive again burns my insides and my faint body cannot contain yearning’s power. The longing for this nightmare to end causes the night tremors to rise and though it is 9:30 in the morning, I cannot see through the darkness.
I have dropped my living children off with the childcare that this Wednesday morning Bible study provides. The women of my small group discuss the week’s lesson in a Sunday school room upstairs. Everyone is in their place, boys in their classrooms, sister-friends in their small groups, bereaved mother alone on the floor of the sanctuary, shaking from night tremors and collapsing from grief’s yearning that has set her soul on fire.
The Cross hangs high behind me on the freshly painted wall of the altar. Grief’s hold is so powerful this morning that I cannot face my God so I turn away from the Cross and I fall to my knees. It’s all too much, my grief, my God. Though I turn away, my grief finds me. Though I turn away, my God finds me too. While my body screams, “You are falling apart,” I hear the Cross whisper, “You are made whole.” My mind blurts out what seems evident, “You have come undone” as the Cross whispers what is true, “It has been done.” My spirit groans, “You are bereaved,” while the Cross whispers, “You are beloved.”
My breath returns as the tears cease. My shoulders guide my body to turn around and face the truth in this Cross that hangs on the freshly painted wall of the altar. “It is done. You are whole. You are beloved,” these Cross whispers roll over me and in me. As I walk away I hear the louder, truer voice of the Cross in my heart and in my mind and in my body. “My daughter, your undoing is my unfolding. It is done. You are whole. You are beloved.”