Triumphant Hope

Countless people have commented on what a wretched beast 2016 was. Here in East Tennessee, wildfires swept through the Smoky Mountains, taking lives and homes all too abruptly. This came near the end of a year fraught with so many deaths and other various types of loss. I stand with those who were glad to say goodbye to 2016. We lost my Daddy very suddenly to cancer at the end of September. But 2017 has dawned with a Hope I can’t really explain except to tie it to the answer I’ve been struggling to find to a nagging question: How am I able to be okay? How am I able to be okay? My first guess was my busy schedule. Teaching keeps me on my toes and keeps my mind occupied. Whether it’s a good thing or not, I don’t really have that much time to grieve. When I do, it’s in my car on the way to work or during worship at church or home. And when I do, I’m grateful to say that the grieving feels deep — if only dosed out in brief spurts. This goes along with something my mom and sister and I read together: that it is natural to grieve in “small doses” because sometimes you just can’t handle it all at once. Then something happened that really changed everything for me. It made all the answers to that question I could have come up with pointless. I was reading the story of when, just before Jesus died on the cross, one of the men being crucified next to Him asked Jesus to remember...