“I loathe my life; I will give free utterance to my complaint; I will speak in the bitterness of my soul.” Job 10:1

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. …And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:4, 7

I told innumerable people early on that I was on a new and long unwanted journey. I spoke of it in a cerebral manner. I knew it to be true, but I didn’t understand it yet. Loss is like a slow starvation, long and painful. It’s a sadness that simply goes deeper and deeper and you have no way of stopping it. Job and Paul are both correct. There’s loathing and rejoicing. A confusing dance of experiences and feelings.

I cannot overstate the pervasive, life-altering, uninvited nature of such a loss. The long part of my description turned out to be more true than I could have fathomed. The insidious nature of the inescapable change is, indeed, new and long. It just won’t go away.

But, I learned to face the loss. It’s a choice. I’ve learned to embrace the undeniable. I’ve been intentional. Believe it or not, there does seem to be an option whether you face loss or not. However, I learned to do it with the faith-filled knowledge that I wasn’t going to face my loss alone.

“I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13

I will never forget visiting Paul and Brennan and their boys for the Easter weekend. All went well until after church. We innocently did what we knew to do on Easter Sunday. Take pictures after church. I squatted to get a picture with Beckett and Camden, two handsome grandsons. I was smiling on the outside, but I was experiencing excruciating pain on the inside. It was my first posed pictures without Kim—alone. It’s just not good for man to be alone. This echo kept insulting me at every turn. Pain became a constant reminder shouting that I was on a new, long, and unwanted journey.

I’ll never forget the day when the word endurance came to rest heavily in my heart. It was a profound realization. Mine was a long journey that would require stamina. It wasn’t going to be an easy journey. It wasn’t going to be short-lived. I have to stay in it, face it, and endure it.

“…we could choose to step out of the redemptive story, not allowing enough time to see it unfold to the end. It is, after all, hard to stay in the story, considering the cost involved.“ Jerry Sittser, A Grace Revealed: How God Redeems the Story of Your Life

Micro-stories are set in the macro-story, the redemptive story. Jerry Sittser goes on to call this journey we are all traveling “a strange story.” While it is “still unfolding, it is already finished.” In other words, we know by faith how our redemptive story ends, regardless of our individual parts of the story. That fuels my endurance!

I have learned loss requires that I marshal endurance for my long and unwanted journey.

“A man’s spirit will endure sickness, but a crushed spirit who can bear?” Proverbs 18:14

“Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.” 1 Corinthians 16:13

16 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    Thanks D.Ray for sharing from heart. I know from my own journey through grief I felt like I was walking through peanut butter some days. I remember what Elizabeth Elliot said “Do the next thing” Push through! Praying for you

  2. Anonymous

    God sees you and knows your pain. You have always been an encouragement to others and even now you will encourage those who have lost their own dear one. We are praying for you. And we know that God who sees your pain will be God who leads you through it. Harriet Bowman

    • D. Ray

      Thank you, Harriet. You and Clint are dear friends. God does see me (just wait to an upcoming entry in late July!). He has led me so faithfully. I do want to encourage and bolster the faith of others now.

  3. Anonymous

    Thank you so much for your wise words on this long, unwanted journey. You put into words what many of us have seen and experienced. Such a loss has to be part of God’s macro story or we are indeed people without hope. Praise God we know His-story.

    • D. Ray

      Thank you. His hope is palpable. I keep pressing into the macro story.

  4. Annette

    Raw truth. When we don’t know what the future holds, we remember WHO holds the future. God’s prophetic Word gives us assurance from the past, peace in the present and hope for the future. Prayers.

    • D. Ray

      Thank you, Annette. He gives such assurance, peace, and hope.

  5. Anonymous

    It gets better. You won’t think about missing your spouse everyday but they will always be in your heart. Sometimes I even look up and wonder what my husband is doing today. I hope he’s woodworking since he never had enough time to do that here. I picture him with the Master Carpenter. When I’m particularly missing him, my sister will remind me that he is walking streets of gold at this very minute. Why would I want to pull him away from that? In no time, you are laughing with friends again and looking forward to seeing the grandchildren over the weekend. The strength of the Lord and time does help with the healing. I assure you of that. Thank you for sharing your experiences. Many of them seem really familiar to everyone else’s story. You actually say it.

    • D. Ray

      One of the lessons I’ve learned is that you have to face the loss to heal. These entries are a year or so behind my actual journey; so I am at a different place in my journey today. However, it’s very healthy to share them and rehearse the experiences and lessons again.

  6. Anonymous

    Brother, I have been silent through these outpourings from the depths of your heart. I read, i absorb, I marvel and I hurt for you. I write today simply to let you know that I have prayed for you daily since your loss and our loss of your beautiful wife, beloved daughter and sister, irreplaceable mom and most loved Grand Minnie. What I promise to you is to continue to lift you before our Loving Lord daily as I do for the whole family. Specifically for you, for the ability to endure the loneliness and awkward moments, for strength to face the painful mornings, the seemingly longer days and those sleepless nights. I pray for an inexplicable peace that blankets the pain and the ever present reminders. I know it doesn’t take away the sting but i pray for you daily brother. Thank you for sharing your heart. Kim is smiling. We grieve over her loss with you. We love you and we miss Kim dearly. I know that she loves and misses you from the Kingdom, but I know she looks forward (as we do) to the approaching day when we will all be together again. Steve

    • D. Ray

      Thank you, Steve. I value the prayer support, and I have been convinced of the prayers. I also appreciate your love and support, in general. I am walking in as healthy manner as possible–mourning but not without hope. While it’s a painful journey, it’s a rich journey. Our Lord is indeed loving. Thank you, brother.

  7. Anonymous

    I’m struggling for words. You describe your pain so well in this one and it hurts me to be confronted with what you have experienced. But then the hope: the story is not finished, the ending is secure, and we don’t face our journey alone. What blessed reassurance! Yes, we persevere, but joy is also there — and you’ve displayed that so beautifully.

    • D. Ray

      I’m learning that pain is an unfortunate but very real part of the fallen world we live in…however, the pain is short-lived in the context of eternity. And, you’re right, even the pain is not endured alone. It should never be faced in isolation from friends, but it is especially to be faced in the presence of Christ.

  8. Anonymous

    Thanks, D Ray. I have also prayed for you & your family since the day Kim left! Keep writing down your thoughts and someday I’ll be reading a book by D Ray Davis!

    • D. Ray

      Well, I never anticipated writing a blog…so, I’ll tackle that task first!

  9. Anonymous

    Hello DRay! Thank you for sharing your story. The honesty. The revelation of human perceptions and emotions in a mundane world. But overall, the uplifting messages and tying it together revealing God’s love, mercy, and goodness through it all.

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