The Gifts of Sorrow


I’m late to post my gratitude journal this week because my brother died.
He was 55 years old and had a heart attack, leaving a wife and six children, five of them still at home.

Such a very few words it takes to say it…so many overwhelming emotions wrapped up in them.

so much sorrow
so much joy
so many memories
so many unfilled blanks–

the empty place at the table
the unread book
the unused desk
the shirt that can no longer absorb his wife’s tears
the arms that can no longer encircle his little girls
the strong dad that is no longer there to teach his boys
the one who his grandchildren will never know until heaven
the great big recliner
with no big man in it

so many tears
but so much gratitude
and the all-encompassing love of Abba
over all.

and for my brother:
no more questions
no more pain
no more struggles

only pure worship
and perfect peace.




Gifts that make my life worth living,
gifts that make my moments holy.
Not gifts that I wish for
but gifts that I have received.
Gifts that bring me back
into Joy and Gratitude.


homemade jalapeño poppers
a tipsy-footed kitten chasing a leaf across the deck
chicken mushroom lasagna
a guffawing game of Win Lose or Draw
a salad with strawberries in it
the caterpillar of a milkweed tussock moth
old and new friends sharing dinner and conversation
fresh sourdough bread
impromptu praise on the grass in front of the church
an evening of beautiful communion with the saints

cell phones, which bring good news…and the worst news
many, many embraces from caring friends, sharing our tears
a fifteen year old van that made the five hour trip one more time
many, many friends who brought huge amounts of food
who served that food
who brought a freezer to hold all the extra food
and tables and chairs for all the family to sit
friends who cleaned
and mowed the lawn
and did laundry
friends who loved and cared and cried with us
over a thousand friends who came to give their condolences
a Bible lying open on my brother’s chest, just as if he had fallen asleep with it in his hand
my eight-year-old niece playing with her daddy’s hair as he lay in his extra long casket
the sunbeam that fell across his face before they closed the lid for the last time

but most of all, the incredible peace that has covered my sister-in-law, who is now a widow
Oh, God, you are so faithful, so incredibly good.
Keep her, Abba,
circled in your arms
cuddled in your lap
and borne up on your mighty wings.
Give her your shirt to cry on
and your beauty to exult in
and keep her always in
your infinite peace.
Be a father to the children
give them your love and comfort
answer their questions
and remind them always of your hope.

From the mundane to the sublime, this week has been an amazing experience.
a gut-wrenching, mind-numbing, heart-flooding experience
a joyful, awful, beautiful experience
a holy experience.

And I am so very grateful for it,
even the pain…
because the pain makes us realize how very blessed we are
day after day
by the joys and gifts that our great God continually rains down.
For it is only in Him that we live
and move
and have our being.


Blessed be Thy Name for ever,
Thou of life the Guard and Giver!
Thou canst guard Thy creatures sleeping;
Heal the heart long broke with weeping.
God of stillness and of motion,
Of the desert and the ocean,
Of the mountain, rock, and river,
Blessed be Thy Name forever.

Thou, Who slumberest not, nor sleepest,
Bless’d are they Thou kindly keepest!
God of evening’s parting ray,
Of midnight gloom, and dawning day.
That riseth from the azure sea,
Like breathings of eternity!
God of life the Guard and Giver,
Blessed be Thy Name forever!




About dayuntoday

I'm a wonderer. I spend a lot of time mulling, pondering, and cogitating. This is just a place to park some of those thoughts.
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17 Responses to The Gifts of Sorrow

  1. Mandy says:

    Aww. So sweet. It made me cry. I loved him so much!

  2. walkintrust says:

    What a beautiful post!  And I see that Mandy’s got her own blog!  Good way to teach Language!  I guess I’m feeling exclamatory tonight!  I loved the way you brought Keith vividly to mind with your wonderful descriptions.  You must be sure to send this post to Linda as I know it will bless her.  Good night.

  3. BooksForMe says:

    This was very moving.  Thank you for sharing him with us.  I look forward to meeting him one day! šŸ™‚  Thank God there is a tomorrow in Heaven.  Thank God He took the bitterness out of death.  It sounds like your sister-in-law is surrounded by a loving community of friends who will be there for her during this hard time, in the days ahead.  What a blessing.Praying for you all!

  4. lglavy says:

    wiping tears and sending prayers to all.  You have a beautiful way with words, Ronda.  I’m still waiting on Janice.  There was no poem, so I am assuming her heart was too heavy and it will spring forth soon!  Blessings,Lisa

  5. fwren says:

    Oh my dear, sweet friend ~ this writing is absolutely beautiful ~ honoring our heavenly Father and your brother as well.  I too was impressed with the incredible peace that was embracing Linda.  May He surround each of you with that incredible peace as you all continue the journey.  We still feel so very blessed to have been a small part of your weekend.  Thank you for your hospitality and your love ~ the time with you was precious.

  6. AlterEgo909 says:

    My condolences. This is very moving indeed. 

  7. I am so, so sorry to hear of your loss. My heart goes out to you and to your brother’s family. May God keep all of you close, and may you feel His presence like you never have before 

  8. sunshine1939 says:

    I am also wiping tears. Ronda, that is truly a beautiful gift. Thank you for letting us share  this gift.

  9. marys_hubby says:

    Sorry to hear about your brother.    Praying for you and also his family.

  10. Beautifully written.Sorry you’ve had to say goodbye.For a while.

  11. gokellyjo says:

    I am so sorry to hear of your loss.  I am so sorry.  God bless you as you grieve.  I am thankful that we do not grieve as those who have no Hope.  Blessings in Christ.

  12. lookin4Jesus says:

    “Pure worship and perfect peace”…..ahhhh don’t we almost envy him? (I say almost because there’s still the desire in me to live a while longer for my family.) Just heard the song by Diamond Rio that God only cries for the living. Yes, we who are left behind are the mourners, and we do mourn because we love. We continue to pray for you who mourn and who have very real needs. This is beautiful and tears stream down my face as I read it. Blesssings, grace, peace, love, and comfort from our Father to all of you!

  13. homefire says:

    @the_Coley_he_seeks – @Mandy – @walkintrust – @BooksForMe – @lglavy – @fwren – @AlterEgo909 – @TeacherPerson – @sunshine1939 – @marys_hubby – @bronze_for_gold – @gokellyjo – @lookin4Jesus – I have read all these comments through several times, and they are a sweet balm.  You can’t imagine how much your words bless me.  I am so very thankful for friends who care!

  14. the_grat says:

    sweetie, i’m so sorry to hear that.  for a solitary year to include the heights and depths of invaluable birth, and immobilizing loss is certainly mind-numbing.  may your broken heart find a safe place to rest.  take all the time you need to cry for him, and don’t let anything or anyone rush you into faking you are ‘ok’.  i love you, ronda.  

  15. homefire says:

    @the_grat – Thank you, dear friend!  I love you, too!  I have been wondering about you–would love to hear what’s happening in your life!

  16. Thought of you so often, just never let you know.  Sometimes, the further down the road, the harder it becomes. Blessings to you and prayers for Linda and their children.

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