Day 9: Messy
When we lost my cousin Cory, it was the first time my siblings and I had experienced the untimely death of someone close to us. We had lost great-grandparents and great aunts and uncles, but no one young. No one our age.
It hit us hard. I wrote about my own grief here, but grief is different for everyone. I know my brothers have had a much harder fight with it and I see that his death has actually changed the course of their lives. I’m proud of this but also sad. I know Cory would be proud of them and what they are doing. But I wish he was here to celebrate with them. I wish he was here.
I wasn’t able to attend the memorial service. But I was able to listen to the eulogy online. That church was important to Cory, and he had spent time with the pastor, so it’s a good message, one that comes from someone who actually knew Cory and understood, in some small part, who he was.
The message is mostly about how Cory’s untimely death seemed like such a mess, and our inclination was to yell and cry at God for doing something so wrong. How could it make sense to take someone so young? To take a daddy from his three precious girls? How could it possibly be his plan to leave my darling aunt without her oldest child and best friend? It doesn’t make sense.
I keep the photo below at my desk. And at home. I keep it in places where I can see it multiple times a day, because I need to be reminded that things aren’t always what they appear. Everyone in my family has a copy of the photo. We all need to remember that we’re only seeing one side of things.
Here’s an excerpt from the message that explains the cross-stitch in more detail:
God says, it looks like a mess. It looks like a waste. But I, God, the Creator of the Universe declares that it is not. That I, God, am working. No I don’t pretend to know exactly what He is doing. But I do know that God claims that not everything we see is as we see it. Things are different than they appear.
Here’s a picture of a cross-stitch. Now I don’t cross-stitch, but I can tell you that this one’s a mess. It is what it is. But no, it’s not. It is not what it is … because we’re looking at the back of this cross-stitch, and the back is a mess. But the front looks really good. We just can’t see it.
It’s as if God is up there, the great Cross-stitcher in the Sky, if you will. And God has created this cross-stitch of Cory’s life, and of your life and my life … and God is making these great beautiful tapestries … and all we can see down here is the backside of these tapestries. And we see a bunch of knots and threads hanging out and stuff messed up and we walk into God’s presence and we say to Him, “God, You obviously have no clue what you are doing! Look at this mess!”
And God says to us, “Well, just wait. You’ll have to wait. And someday you’ll see the front of the tapestry of your life, you’ll see it in all its beauty, and you will be amazed at what I’m doing. So trust me. You’ve got to trust me. This will all work out.”