Another road trip to the new house, another stop at Kwik Trip for more coffee. And there I saw them, a bag of lemon drops. I pulled the bag off the metal piece it hung from and immediately tears stung my eyes. Lemon drop memories. It’s funny how little things can cause liquid grief to flow as the memories pull on your heartstrings.
Dad loved lemon drops, I thought as I held the bag in my hand. And the missing feelings overwhelmed me. Dad went home to be with the Lord a little over five years ago. I think about him nearly every day. He was full of fun and loved to joke around. He could always bring a smile to my face. My tears surprised me.
Pushing the painful away use to be the way I chose to live. I use to hate fragility, and neediness. I would do anything to avoid tears. I would even try to keep others from crying so I didn’t have to deal with their sadness, or feel my own. I still do sometimes. But I am finding that when I allow myself to be touched by the pain of loss, healing begins. It is okay to miss the ones we love and allow tender memories to move us.
Burying my feelings use to make me feel strong. It helped me believe the lie that nothing could hurt me. But believing lies and building walls left me alone in the pain I was afraid to feel. I locked others out.
Sometimes it feels like our pain and tears can annihilate us. They feel too big, too overwhelming. And it seems that if we allow the tears to start they will never stop. It feels like we will crumple under the heaviness of our deep feelings. But that too is a lie. When we can open up about our feelings, and be held in them, the load is lightened.
Slowly I learn these truths, and release the lies. More lessons on my path of recalibrating life. But actually these lessons are ones I have been struggling through for a long time.
My fear of allowing the pain to touch me is still a very real part of me. But on that drive, sucking on one of those lemon drops, I told my husband about the sadness I felt, the missing dad feelings and the need to hold him near in my memories. I shared my grief, and it was okay. When you are willing to share the tears and talk about the hurt, you often find community and compassion.
Satan wants us to remain in the bondage that his lies create. He wants us stuck in the fear, debilitated by the grief. He wants us to feel like we need to hide. He wants us alone and walled off. Because in our alone, he can destroy our faith, he can shred our hope, and he can leave us for dead.
But Psalm 56:8 reminds me that the Lord collects my tears in a bottle. My tears are precious to the Lord. And He meets us in the grief we feel. He comforts our hurting hearts with His love, and gives us the hope of seeing our believing loved ones again. He brings restoration and healing to our brokenness and grief.
Our souls are refreshed once again in knowing His loving-presence. And we truly are not alone. He knows our fragility, and when we are weak He is strong. His grace truly is sufficient (2 Corinthian’s 12:9) for whatever life brings, for whenever memories roll over us like a tsunami. He will collect our tears as if they are precious diamonds, because He loves us that much. He will strengthen and uphold us through it all.
The bag of lemon drops is still in my car. As I am driving, I often pull one out of the bag, and the bittersweetness of the candy reminds me of the tears and my lemon drop memories. Life is bittersweet like those lemon drops. We taste the bitter and the sweet in life. Sweet memories can bring tears. I am learning to realize the preciousness of both.
What about you? Have you had “lemon drop memory” experiences? How do you deal with your grief and pain? Do you wall it off so it doesn’t touch you? Have you found the Lord’s comfort in the midst of it all?
May the Lord refresh your soul today with His loving-presence no matter what life brings your way.