Our brother in law, Peter, has been battling a degenerate lung disease now for several years. He was barely in his 30s. Waiting for a lung transplant in St. Louis with his wife, Eileen, and two kids, Adah (5) and Eamon (2.5) for the past 2 months or so....his lungs became exhausted. He lost his fight suddenly on Saturday afternoon, December 7th.
Our annual Christmas party that we prepare few weeks for, invite a few hundred favorite friends and family to, and love to celebrate alongside with was also on Saturday evening, December 7th.
Waiting to find out the gender of our third and reveal it in front of our friends at the party, we got a call a few hours before that Pete had passed away.
Our house had the extra chairs all around, the appetizers, cheeses, wines, eggnog martini's.....things were prepared. 100 or so people were showing up in hours.
How do you go on with a celebration when you are weeping on your kitchen floor for the loss of a great man? How do you battle the wonder and still excitement of wanting to find out and enjoy new life inside your body when death has taken life right from under your feet? How does the human heart hold it all together?
We held silence and celebration together. Our party fell completely silent, no movement made, no sound heard to honor Peter as we shared our loss publicly at the party. And moments later applause and hugs and hollers heard as we opened our envelope and discovered I am carrying a boy. Silence and celebration. Held together.
Our dear friend Lori is getting married this Saturday and the preparations, the celebrations, the counseling, the dress, the bridesmaids are ready. I am one of the ready ones.
Waiting to hold her groom in her arms in a covenant forever, Lori is full of hope.
Pete's funeral is now this very same day - I was asked to stand up in a monumental day and moment with one of my best friends; I am called to attend my brother in law's funeral 3 hours away, just as monumental. At the same time. How do you choose? To miss the wedding does not mean to miss the marriage, to miss the funeral does not mean to miss the grief....as my other sister in law put wisely.
How do we hold both grief and celebration together? And yet our heart does. It holds it all. Together. Not switching, but simultaneously.
In 14 days we celebrate The Coming One.....The Christmas Boy in whom all redemption, hope, love, joy, grief, silence, power rest.
Waiting. Advent means to wait. It means the coming. And He holds it all together. Grief and pain and suffering and tearing a heart in two, joy and laughter and celebration and uniting hearts in one. All together. All at once. "And He is before all things. And in Him all things hold together." - Col 1:17
Eileen looked at me and told me not to miss my dear friends wedding. Rob was set to play in her wedding as well. Rob feels called to be with his sister, be one of the men to hold her up. I am called to stand next to Lori, be a woman who holds her hand. Torn. All in one heart.
We now wait through pain as Eileen has torrential waves to wade through. We wait in joy for our new baby boy. Wait in hope for Lori's day. We wait in every kind of waiting, every kind of emotion, every kind of everything for the Savior to be born. For the rescue to keep coming. For the plan to keep unfolding.
And we name our emotions. We call them and give them honor and know what they are. We name our hurts, our grief, our joy.
We name our new baby boy. As far as we can say, we love the name Judah. Judah Peter.
Judah Peter Seiffert. For the day one godly man left us and one became known to us. The same day, held together. Come, Lord Jesus, Come.