I stood looking at a framed picture I have of Curt that sits in my family room. Sometimes I talk to him as I look at his photo. It helps me process my grief. Today, I told him that if the Lord should tarry, I will grow old while he will remain the same. Curt was six years older than me, but now he's in a place where time doesn't age him. If the Lord should tarry, I'm so thankful that I will be changed before Curt sees me. Ha! 1 Corinthians 15:51-52 NASB said, "Behold, I am telling you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed." Woohoo! My aging body will be changed.
We speculate and try to understand the afterlife by what we read in Scripture and what we imagine, but no one can fully know all that God has prepared for us. We cannot even fully understand God. There are so many unanswered questions. Here is a brief look at what Curt wrote about knowing God:
"Oh, what a wonderful God we have! How great are his riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his methods! For who can know what the Lord is thinking? Who knows enough to be his counselor?" Letter to the Romans, Chapter 11, Verses 33-34
I love this God. Although he is a God who reveals himself, I can't totally figure him out. Although he is a God of order, I can't systematize him. He won't let himself be totally understood, because we humans would try to contain him and control him. That's why people often prefer a neatly packaged god or spirituality.
Is it acceptable to say we don't fully understand him? Obviously, Paul thought it was because I just quoted him. I know so much more about this God than I ever did, but I am still learning. I know him, but I don't. I understand him, but I don't. I know his ways, but I don't. I like the fact that he's mysterious.
I know that what I am responsible for, he will make known. Beyond that, much is tied up in mystery, and I'm okay with that. There's no way I could contain all he knows anyway. Too much knowledge would be overwhelming for me and overbearing to others. I will trust him to let me know what I need to know, when I need to know it, and in what measured dose I need to receive it.
~ Curt Dalaba
A few weeks after Curt's funeral, when my family had all returned to their homes, I came downstairs that first morning, and the weight of all I'd lost fell heavy upon my shoulders all at once. Words fail me to adequately describe the hopelessness I felt about never seeing Curt again in this life. Having to learn to live without him completely overwhelmed me. Curt always said I was an optimist, and he was a realist. Well, I lost all optimism that day. Joy abandoned me. I couldn't imagine ever finding happiness in this life again. I struggled along through that day, putting one foot in front of the other, taking a breath, and then another breath. The day finally ended, only to fall asleep and have to do it all over again.
But God stayed by my side, and my understanding of him expanded. He revealed himself to me in the measure that I needed him. Praying and reading my Bible helped. Reading books about heaven and grief helped. Talking to family and friends helped. Messaging and emailing with friends helped me. Exercising helped. Helping others helped me too. Before I knew it, I reached the five-and-a-half-month mark since Curt had to leave, and I realized that joy had returned. Do I still miss Curt? Yes. Every day! I can't make it through a day without tears. Nevertheless, God is healing me as he comforts me day by day.
This poem Curt wrote in 2002 describes the process of my grief journey. The memories that hurt and delight. The faith that arose when my frozen emotions burst free of the shock that had helped me endure the first part of grief. When I began to feel the extent of my loss, faith intensified. As I gazed toward my Savior, the hope of eternity beckoned like never before.
The Day I Laid You Down
Many roads we've walked together,
I, scarce, begin to count them all,
At times my mind is overwhelmed,
With all the memories I recall.
You are the salt, did not Christ say,
You added flavor to all my days,
You are the light, did not He say,
You helped to brighten my dreary ways.
With you, I've oft been moved to laughter,
With you, at times, yes, moved to tears,
With you, our joys to highest rafter,
With you, together, moved through fears.
But no day had moved me deeper than the day I laid you down.
I lay you down, seed sown in spring,
I walk away with cherished hope.
That one sweet day new my life will bring,
With this thought only do I cope.
I have left you, not alone,
But in the soil of God,
And holding steadfast to his promise,
I move on, this life to trod.
With great delight, anticipation,
One day again to you I'll cling,
For now my greatest aspiration,
Is the joy that he will bring.
For no day will thrill me stronger than the day you take your crown.
©November 5, 2002
January 19, 2022