Admittedly, a morbid thought on a sunny Monday morning where the promise of summer is upon us, but a needed reminder to weep with those who weep.
“Climbing into the casket” is not an original thought, and this post has been in my draft folder for a very long time. But in light of the one year anniversary of my dear friend Barb’s homegoing, I feel I can write what climbing into the casket looks like.
I came across this statement in a book, Sacred Friendship,
“Climbing into the casket = climb in the casket to identify with feelings of despair(p.17)
living as one who already died with Christ to the things of this world and who has already been raised with Christ to the things of the next world.” (p.68)
Loss in the form of death can bring us to our knees. Emotions we never knew existed when this type of loss enters our life are raw, foreign and unsettling. It has been eight and half years since my dad went to home to heaven, but I remember so vividly driving one afternoon, forgetting the most basic steps of how to drive. Thankfully, it wasn’t far from home . Death unravels the recesses of our hearts. Whether the death was long in coming or was very unexpected in the case of Barb, the passing of our cherished loved ones may bring us to despair. It was true for me and it has been true even for the Apostle Paul, who
felt the sentence of death and despaired even of life, Paul’s friends climbed in the casket with him, identifying with their feelings of despair. ( 2 Corinthians 1:8-9)
Paul’s suffering was so severe that it seemed to Paul as if a death sentence had been decreed against him. (ESV study note)
As we have walked this past year with our dear friend, Brian, in the loss of his beloved wife, Barb, I, along with my husband Rob have done our best to share in his deep sorrow and loss. We wanted to feel deeply with him and help him to remember to not rely on ourselves, but rely on God. (2 Corinthians 1:9) I can’t speak for Brian or any of his family members, and I have not lost a spouse, but a dear dad. Yes, climbing into the casket may sound unusual, but it has been a vivid picture for how I want to love my neighbor, to love as Christ loves, and point anyone who might be at the point of despair to remember, rely on God, who loves more than I ever will.
To end this post on a bright note, here is a picture of us together from this weekend when Brian invited us to enjoy Syracuse Symphoria. We had a great time.
empathy=feeling deeply the feelings of another
compassionate commisseration= shared sorrow is endurable sorrow