One of my favorite writers once wrote about her distaste in people loosely using the term, "I feel your pain," while comforting someone else, as if they're trying to share in their unfortunate experience in some roundabout way. I believe there are different levels and deeper scales of "pain" when it's purely emotional. Losing a pet, losing a friend, the loss of a loved one, a family member, and the worst I have seen just recently, was a friend who just lost her 1 year old baby who passed away while napping. I cannot even fathom that kind of pain, just sympathize and can only wonder if her life will ever be the same again. I can't even compare it to the loss of my father. My comfort in losing Dad was that he is no longer suffering. He lived to be 75 years old and had a great, long life. A life well lived, of course until the end. That alone, comforts me. But the unresolved and unanswered questions from God Himself, asking Him, "Why? Why do you have to take my healthy baby away?" ----- that's one question that may result in the loss of faith. There's no reasonable answer - none that we can comprehend at least. I'm reminded of all the overused clichés out there: "Everything happens for a reason," "God has a purpose, but we don't know," "Heaven needed him more." I get it. It's very comforting to think God needed our loved ones more, but is it just to soothe our great loss and despair of losing someone way too soon - way too quickly for our "liking" -- or for what should have been a different outcome? We can easily get angry at God for all the unanswered questions swiveling around in our minds, but what good would it do? Another close friend of ours lost his 16 year old son in a motorcycle accident, and yet again, the question remains...why?

Every morning, I sit outside with my coffee and pray. I'm thankful that every unfortunate situation that has taken place had a "good enough" reason -- or one that I can understand. Life cycles, cancer, old age, suffering --- yes, I understand that passing on is one way of relieving the pain. It still hurts and that's the pain I can "feel" on a personal level. But through that experience, I have learned a lot. I learned that the great pain of grief has made me stronger, perhaps to face another challenge that awaits me down the road. The mere 'silence' instantly reminds me of God's relief. There is a reason, or at least, I believe. I remember one day I was outside talking with Mom. Dad came outside of the house to sit with us moments later. He sat on his chair, his head sunk low as he kept banging his cane on the ground. He said, "I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry I'm going to leave you," while shaking his head in disbelief. We weren't supposed to say goodbye this soon. Or was it "too soon"? Mom reassured him that the treatments were going to work, while we were trying to hide the truth to give him quality of life. He just lifted his head, stared out into the view of the mountains he's been looking at for the past 55 years with his bright hazel eyes, and just 'knew'. My dad was never a quitter, but he came into this amazing acceptance level toward the end. As I said in a previous post, Dad said to me one day, "All I want is another ten years, that's all!" I said, "And you'll get that if you keep up with your doctor's visits." He shook his head and smiled. He never got his request. Till this day, I ask "why", but through time, I know why. Another ten years for him would have been absolute torture.

Does God have a plan?
"These things I plan won't happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, wait patiently, for it will surely take place. It will not be delayed." --Habakkuk 2:3

I had this incredible dream where my grandmother and father were both approaching me right outside on my lawn. Grandma held me left hand while Dad took my right. The lawn separated and a rainbow road appeared. I looked at the both of them, smiling and gleaming with this incredible glow, not saying one thing, but yet telling me without words how peaceful and happy they were. As we walked down this rainbow path, I realized *right in my dream* that this was an actual "visit"! It's not common to actually "wake up" in your dream (so to speak). Anyway, knowing this was a "visit" I said, "Wow! I miss you guys so much!" They both were laughing and smiling and had this "knowingly" presence --- as if there was something much larger out there that I could never grasp as a human being, but knew that without a doubt, that this visit was important for me to know that they were okay --- more than okay. So for me, I take comfort in relying on God's promises that in time, we will find out why our hearts break so much when we lose someone we love so dearly, and of course, why some of our loved ones leave us way too early.  It's the plan that will never, ever be fully understood as a human - it's the plan that God wants you to trust Him with. Trying to figure out God's plan is like fish trying to comprehend algebra. It'll never happen, until we're there with them, laughing and smiling, finally "knowing" what it's all about.

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: or join her on Facebook and Twitter. Check out her cooking blog for some of her famous recipes!