This week has been a hard one for me, dominated by death. On Monday I was called upon to share with an elderly couple whose son had just passed away. On Friday I participated in leading the funeral for an older man. Out of all that emotional pain and frustration my heart cried out for answers – why? There are no easy answers, but standing in front of an open casket can give some clarity. It seems that being confronted by death should help us to re-evaluate life. My observation is that life will continue to be filled with painful experiences and each one has the capacity to either make us or break us.
Recently I read the story of the great artist Renoir who, in the last 10 years of his life, was crippled with arthritis. Despite great pain Renoir kept painting. One day one of his friends visited him, and saw him struggling with every stroke and asked, “why do you continue painting when you are in such agony?” Renoir replied
“The pain passes: the beauty remains”.
How true of life! The pain and agony of grief might seem unbearable, the hurts of life might seem insurmountable, but with God’s help we can grow through that and begin to see some of the beauty that was there all the time. Out of my own turmoil I was reminded of an old song we used to sing at church, which went like this:
Something beautiful, something good,
All my confusion he understood;
All I had to offer Him was brokenness and strife,
But He made something beautiful of my life.
Be encouraged, the best is yet to be!
Chaplain Ian Whitley