So we made it through our first "holiday" since Rusty died. For me, it had it's sad moments. It wasn't as hard as it could have been simply because I don't have a lot of recent memories of Rusty related to Easter. We just always ended up doing different things that day. However, there were several times, especially watching the kids hunt for eggs, that I got teary-eyed thinking how much he would have enjoyed watching them and how he would have added another whole level of fun. I kept hearing his voice run through my head, and picturing his awesome smile as if he had been there with us.
My mom had a much harder day. One reason is because at her church, they sang "Because He Lives". That was the song God gave her when Rusty was born with a brain hemorrhage, and we sang it at his funeral. I cannot imagine how heart-breaking that was for her. Poor Momma.
That night, Mom, Hugh (my step-dad), and I attended an Easter performance of "Saviour". It's a modern oratorio (lots of music). They had a full choir and orchestra, and ballet dancers. It was beautiful! I cried during the first song, called, "My Heart Belongs to You". It's basically a love song between God and Adam. One of the lines that stood out to me is of "God" singing: The message of My song will always be true: My heart belongs to you." By the end of the song, Adam is singing it in response back to God. It's gorgeous. And it made me see God's love for mankind in a fresh way. He created us so that He could give His heart to us. And then, when Adam and Eve chose sin, not only did we lose that intimate relationship with God, but He lost it with us. We always focus on what Man lost that day, but what about what God lost that day? He lost His love - the one He had given His heart to. That relationship was ripped away from Him, suddenly, violently - like losing someone to death.
You see, I've been listening to a lie recently. A lie that said that God doesn't really know how I feel. He hasn't really lost someone to death like I have. Yes, His Son suffered and died, and I know that was excruciating, but He knew that in 3 days, He would be alive again. Part of what makes losing Rusty so hard is just that thought of all the time it will probably take before I see him again. That not knowing a time reference is so frustrating to me (my worship pastor would tell me that's a control issue that I need to choose to surrender to God, and he would be right). And so I thought that God couldn't relate to that part of grief - the seemingly endless longing. But that song tonight made me realize how wrong I was. When sin came, God experienced profound loss. Us. And even though He already had a plan in place to redeem us, He knew it would be millennia before that redemption would be fully realized and He would once again enjoy intimate, unbroken relationship with the ones He had created to give His heart to. How heartbroken He must have been. How much must He long for us even now? Yes, once we are saved we have a relationship with Him, but it's not like it was in the Garden - walking side by side; talking face to face. Sin still gets in the way.
Since Rusty died, I've been pondering the story of Lazarus. In one of the verses, it says Jesus was very troubled. (It's a few verses before the famous "Jesus wept" verse.) I've always wondered why. I know people have taught that He was troubled because of how grieved Mary and Martha were, and I agree with that. But I've always thought there was more to it. Could it be that seeing them grieving the loss of their brother reminded Him of His own loss at the Fall? Could it be that He was very troubled because the God-head part of Him was missing us - grieving the loss of relationship He had so enjoyed in the Garden?
So that night, as I listened to that song, it's as if I heard God speak this to my heart: I do know how you feel, Daughter, because I have suffered loss like that. I lost you." God knows the pain of separation more profoundly than I can comprehend, and I can trust Him with this.