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Tuesday, July 12, 2016

“Stricken to Your Inner Core” 

Oftentimes, we experience emotions that are so extreme and so profound, that they seem to permeate your bone marrow and inner being. They can be so overwhelming that you feel like you are in a state of perpetual, never-ending feelings.

They can appear either as grief and loss or happiness and joy.

Cases in Point:

#1 - It was 1989 that our family experienced the tragic, untimely death of my oldest brother in an auto accident. He was only 31 years old...I was 24 years old. This was the first time I had experienced death so up-close-and-personal. Everyone had gathered at our home. Our immediate family, all four grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins…a full house. My sister-in-law had already told my 12 year old nephew, but now had the horrible task of telling my 6 year old niece. She took her back in my parents’ bedroom and closed the door. We were all gathered in the kitchen, living room and den. 

Suddenly, there was a piercing scream throughout the house, followed by an anguished wail of “My D-a-a-d-d-d-y!!!!”

Everyone lost it. There was not a dry eye in the house. My sister-in-law was so overwhelmed that she exited the bedroom and asked Daddy to help comfort his granddaughter. Daddy went in and held her, while she hugged him tightly. She was inconsolable with profound grief.
*I must say this was the first time I ever saw my Daddy cry.*

#2 – During my oldest brother’s funeral, I recall feeling a level of grief I had never known before. I cried and wailed uncontrollably. I felt like my head was going to explode. I gasped so much, I felt like I couldn't breathe. It took my cousin to hold me and help console me...and for this, I will be eternally grateful.

#3 - My parents had one son, twins – a girl and boy, and identical triplet girls, of which I am the third. In 2001, when we got the tragic news that my older twin brother had died by smoke inhalation in an apparent house fire, we were devastated. I had just spoken to him a few days prior. He loved calling me "Jet" instead of Janette. Personally, my heart was breaking.

I remember entering the hospital to see his warm body in a body bag. I found myself nudging him and whispering, "Brother? Wake up!" I asked the doctor if he would be a candidate for organ donation. Unfortunately, he wasn't, due to the toxic fumes he had inhaled. I desperately tried to make this tragedy have some meaning.

As we were leaving the hospital, I saw my brother-in-law trying to comfort my older twin sister. She was crying, almost uncontrollably. Although our entire family was upset, her level of grief seemed so deep, so "unusually & extremely profound" to me.

Then it dawned on me…he was her TWIN! They were born together and had 41 years of experiences, secrets, laughs and closeness that were ONLY theirs.

Sometimes, the anguish can feel unbearable. Fortunately, we have a COMFORTER to help us navigate through these times.

And then, there are overwhelming Levels of Joy:

#4 – My nephew, the son of my triplet sister, married his true love a few years ago. Her family and our family felt naturally interconnected. Their wedding and reception was magical! Although this was their special day, it was obvious that it was a blessing for all of the attendees. Even his long-time mentor flew over 16 hours from China to be there! Personally, my heart was so overjoyed that I could not stop smiling. It was one of the most heart-filled, happiest and uplifting moments that I had ever experienced.

#5 – Our immediate family has a tradition every Christmas Eve of exchanging gifts among each other. Everyone witnesses each other open their gifts. We save Mama and Daddy for last. At times, I gave gag gifts :)  The fact that we have done this over 50 years is humbling to me. This is an annual gathering that fills my heart with much joy and happiness.

#6 – My minister retired as the full-time pulpit minister of my church after 53 years of unwavering service. I was a witness and participant in 23 years of it. My congregation hosted a month-long celebration that culminated in an elegant 1,000 attendee banquet. We also changed the name of our assisted living center to honor him. The love our congregation extended to him and his family was extremely overwhelming for him and us. My heart still overflows with profound pride and joy, when I remember it…

The Bible says:
John 11:35 (NKJV):
Jesus wept.
Psalm 34:18 (NIV):
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
Matthew 5:4 (NIV):
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
John 14:26 (KJV):
26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
Romans 12:12 (NKJV):
rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer;
Romans 12:15 (NKJV):
Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.
Psalm 37:4 (NKJV):
Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart.
Proverbs 14:13 (NKJV):
Even in laughter the heart may sorrow, And the end of mirth may be grief.

When you feel “stricken to your inner core” in life, find comfort in knowing that GOD is aware and HE will see you through.


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