Lemuel Craig Houston
January 18, 2016 – January 20, 2017
God’s finger touched him, and he slept. (Tennyson)
This morning I awoke to languid clouds stretching thin across the skies, tinged with pink. There are many mornings my initial thoughts turn to what day of the week it is and the anticipated course of events that will press me on every side, but today I felt a bit adrift and instead watched the wind tease filmy clouds apart.
I thought about the outrage and grief of many in my community, in many of the circles I am a part of. Of the woman who wanted me to join her in the “pant suit protest.” Of bleeding forlornness tumbled about in printed words, both to me and in the newspaper I read. The heartbreak and howling is loud, the wretching within painful, and there is much fear, despair and defiance. I know this because I know many of them. They know me, too, and I am an enigma. Sometimes, if I am perplexed or maintain my peace in the fray, I become the enemy who increases their pain. It’s hard to know how to comfort them.
I drew myself from the folds and read Luke 5. Grief was there, too. Simon Peter, lamenting over his sins before a holy God, and the leper, not asking for healing but to be made clean. I wondered if the leper said what he meant, if our translation made any sort of distinction. It seemed not. Simon Peter abandons all to follow Christ. The leper abandons the Lord’s instruction and parades his own healing instead. Both were grieved; both responses were set apart from one another.
I mused about the grief of the Houston family. They are pressed out of measure, and yet strengthened. They are walking in the valley of death, and yet rejoicing in green pastures without. They are in agony, and yet submissive to the Lord’s will. How mysterious, how…otherwise.
Later that morning, I started the tea kettle and sat to review my email and social media. Grief upon grief, dear Lemuel had died the night before. He had fled to Christ, where we sheep are all pining to go, to the Shepherd, homeward and healed, completely and utterly cleansed. The affliction left behind is tender, but one that the brethren in unity will bare with this dear family as are able.
Deference, not defiance. Trust, not resistance. Humility, not hubris. Not one finger wagged or shaken, not one fist marked or clenched. Open hands, praising and praying hands, nothing in them in which to bring, but simply to the cross to cling.
2 Corinthians 4:17-18 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
It’s a different kind of grief.
(This is from Psalm 102)
P.S. If you are prodded in heart to help, you may do so HERE.