The Color of Grief

The Color of Grief

dropThe sweet little girl at her great-grandmother’s funeral had just asked me why the funeral people drive those “funny looking cars.” After I made a stab at answering that one, she proceeded to another query. Looking intently at my dark suit she asked, “Why do you wear black?” Her mother stood behind her clad in the same grave color.

I don’t remember exactly how I attempted to answer her color question, but it had to do with undertaking an explanation for the term; “tradition”, and that we sometimes wear the color of how we feel—to show our respect, and that we’re sad for our loss.  I don’t believe that any of that computed for this little cherub. In contrast to us, this little one stood there brightly in her cheerful, colorful, spring-like floral dress as she proudly announced; “I like color!” “What if the sky was the color of my dress?” she continued…

Always, it’s out of the mouths of babes…

Indeed,… what is the color of grief and death? Depends, doesn’t it? For some, when death enters there is not a color black enough to express their heart’s despair. For others death seems only an inconvenient annoyance, barely given any respect at all—while that bright soul fixes on flowers, butterflies and blue skies.

They say nobody knows what happens when we die. I say if we don’t know, then,… keep wearing black. They say, “No, everybody goes to heaven, or when you die you just cease to exist, or you’ll go to the “Big Rock Candy Mountain”,  or they make some other statement of faith. But I thought we couldn’t make any statements like that, cause nobody knows what’s beyond? Of course, that too, is a statement of faith. An unprovable opinion. The only way, I guess, we could actually know anything would be if somebody died, went beyond, and then came back to tell us about it. Oh wait,…somebody did!

The Bible says, in 1 Thessalonians 4:13 “Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope.”

Since there is a Savior, we don’t grieve like the rest. The grief is all laced with grace. Hope is no wish. It’s a settled fact that we anticipate. The hopeful fact is, to turn a phrase—”dead men may tell tales”. They may live again. There is a Redeemer. There is hope.

Perhaps my little friend at the cemetery is on to something. Maybe next time one of my trusting friends makes their departure, I’ll ditch the black suit and choose my floral Hawaiian.

« »