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The Great Divide

On the precipice of grief

Every family has a story whose narrative is uniquely their own. Its pages are marked with laughter and tears: sweet memories and painful scars. Some of our stories have a deep crevice that causes a great divide of sorrow- an immeasurable canyon that signifies an event that changed everything.

There is a canyon in our family's history—the dividing line of the before and after of sorrow. Like most people, you may not see it on the surface, but it's there. It's evident in the hidden pages of our story - or in the boxes of pictures.

When my husband Larry and I first married, I took many pictures. He has told me on more than one occasion that he married me because I worked hard and took lots of photos. I usually laugh when he says that because I don't always live up to the picture side of the bargain, but I try.

I've had seasons in which I took more photos than others. Sometimes, I would be organized enough to put the images in picture albums. But often, I would place them in boxes with good intentions of organizing them later. All these years later, I've finally gotten around to tackling those boxes.

As I look at each photo, memories carry me to the time and place they were taken: sweet memories of fun and simple times. I can almost hear the laughter as my mind drifts through our story.

A story has a beginning, middle, and end. The beginning is easy to define for me. When Larry and I started dating, each had a daughter from a previous marriage. The middle contains many seasons of our growing family. But one thing I noticed as I was placing the photos in chronological order was that there was a gap as if part of our lives were cut out and lost - dissected.

December 28th, 1998, caused a pause in the pages of our family's story. That was the day that changed everything. We all have defining moments, but this was a dividing moment. It was the day that we witnessed the accident that took our daughter Nicole's life.

The photos in the boxes were a testament to the great divide in our family's biography: missing days, weeks, and months. No pictures because to take a photo during that time would be a stark reminder of what once was. The before...

That is what grief does; it causes our lives to pause and go silent. Grief stops life and alters everything, defining the before and after.

I now see my life in 2 parts, with a deep chasm in the middle—a time pronounced by great sorrow. Back then, I couldn't imagine ever living with joy and hope again. However, over time, joy and hope began to seep back in. With that, the Lord began to build a bridge over the divide that led to healing. His mercies carried us over that bridge, so now, when I look at the photos from the past, it makes me smile as I remember the sweet times before. The great divide is still in our family's history, but it now displays God's amazing healing in our lives.

You may be standing at an immeasurable precipice of grief. Moving forward, much less crossing the great divide, seems impossible. Please don't give up; it won't always be this way. Lift your eyes above your sorrow and give your pain to God. Over time, His healing mercies will build a bridge of healing and comfort.

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