It’s a mystery.
It sits in everyone’s living room.
It’s just a chair.
It’s a chair that I have looked at from a distance and even danced around pretending it doesn’t exist.
It’s a chair I touched briefly in the past, but then I moved on quickly to another place with songs my dad used to sing to me playing in my head.
But this fall I sat on it.
I definitely and unforgettably sat down in it and stayed there.
I stayed there when every single beating part of me wanted to run.
I stayed there as I held my weeping, weary daughter.
I stayed there as I arranged a basket full of hopeful yellow roses.
I stayed there as I faced faith and death, squarely and surely, in the face and did not look away.
And as I stayed and sat I got to know its texture and color.
I can feel it now.
I got to understand its contours and comfort.
I can smell it now.
I got to rearrange my life and make a special space for it.
I now know my Father better.
It is called grief.
Everyone has their own chair.
You cannot sit on someone else’s.
Everyone has a different style.
Some are soft and squishy,
Some are wooden and hard-backed and uncomfortable,
Some are multicolored and fragile and crack easily,
Some need to have lots of space around them with no other impeding furniture close by.
Whatever your style, it always is the same.
You can choose to sit in it separated from others, or you can choose to
sit in it surrounded by extended family and community.
I chose the later.
I know no other way, but now I know for certain.
The extended family carried me and the chair on many days.
The extended family rocked me in the chair, with the daily rhythms and practices previously placed there.
The extended family didn’t question my choice of chair.
The extended family sang to me sometimes up close, sometimes from a distance.
The extended family loved me and those I love well and continue to do so.
And I am thankful.
I also know that if you sat in your chair and feel utterly alone, your Father is still holding your hand just like He held His own Son a long time ago.