I went to Coffee Bean for my daily ritual of reading and consuming caffeine and there was a cop car parked outside. Just a few days before there was a shooting at the costco right across the street, so it had been a week of cop filled parking lots in this little shopping center. Sitting in the middle of the three standing cops was a woman dressed in a khaki dress with blonde hair and very tear stained eyes.
For the 15 seconds it took me to walk from my car through the door I inadvertently watched this woman be wrenched with grief as she buried her face into her hands and curled over into her lap so consumed by whatever terrible news she had just received. I sat just inside the window lined building with my back to her subconsciously giving her privacy from my curiosity. I sat, distracted, drinking a terribly made americano, for what couldn’t have been more than 20 minutes. That poor woman. She sat outside still, looking entirely lost and in pain. The cops remained around her just standing there. Inside was a boy, no older than 13; he was her son. He had his back to the window drinking some frozen drink. Every once and a while he would turn to the policeman standing by the door and wave to him. He had no idea what was going on, “She’s just tired she didn’t sleep well last night,” he told the coffee bean manager.
I sat there for only a few minutes longer before I decided I wasn’t getting anything accomplished. I got up and left. I walked out the door and as I turned to get into my car I looked back at the woman sitting in the same spot, still hunched over, face in her hands, tears falling down her cheeks and I smiled sympathetically at her. Our eyes met for the briefest of moments and she acknowledged my weak effort at a compassionate smile. My whole way home my heart yearned to be with that woman, give her company in her grief, hold her hand.
Yesterday I saw the brokenness of the world in a woman outside coffee bean.
I know that the world is a broken place in desperate need of the love and grace of a Savior. I know that there is pain, but I don’t think I have ever seen grief like that. There will come a day where the brokenness and pain of the world will be conquered, and I hope with all my heart, that the woman I saw will experience that. I am willing to bet that some of us will go our whole lives not knowing grief like that woman. Some of us will come to the end and still not understand the pain of the world. Some of us will see death and not be ready to meet our Great Maker. It is my hope that in my life, and yours, that we will meet grief so as to understand the deep desire and need for Jesus. That we will be able to go through life and come to death and be ever so willing to be done with this world, the joys that we were blessed with and the rough spots that God gave us to be able to see Him in, so that we can FINALLY be with our Father. That is our great joy, that one day we might be able to finally be in communion with Him. I pray that we see this world as ever reflecting His nature, and even in the extreme grief that we may see our desperate need for Him.
It’s ironic really that the day after I looked grief in the eye that the topic of my reading would be torture. This book is going to break my heart several times over I can tell. The topic is the extreme brutality of the government of Chile in the 70s. It is more explicit than I expected and wrenches my insides as I read. It is soaked and dripping with the need for Jesus. The name of the book is “Torture and Eucharist.” I don’t know where it’s going to take it, but I am excited to see the correlation between Jesus’ sacrifice and torture. The brokenness of the world all gathered and placed on one man.
He saw the grief of that woman outside coffee bean. He felt it, and He died for her, so that one day she wouldn’t have to feel it any more. Our God is good. He knows our grief.
And so while grief incarnate exists in so many places we look, Hope and Love incarnate came and conquered it once and for all. Praise God.