On Loss…and Reunions

GUEST POST: Jeff Hughes

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Only five minutes earlier, I had been sitting on a couch in a room crowded with strangers. I was distraught and grieved. The telephone call was brief. My precious mom had died earlier that day. Twenty-three years old, now completely orphaned, I thought….what do I say on the phone? I think I said, “Thank You” or something dumb and then just hung up.

I don’t remember everything about what happened next. I remember that they gave me a few minutes to myself. I remember that the tour director sent the group ahead to the hotel and arranged for a private car-ride for me.

What I don’t remember is how I got outside and why I was suddenly all alone. But here I was. Standing all by myself. At dusk. In August. In an alley. In Amsterdam. It was one of those nights in summer where the day had been very hot and had warmed the ground and the buildings around me. But the evening, while cooler, was still just slightly warmer than skin….and the air was really still – not stale – but still. It was also very quiet – and that’s when it happened and it completely took me by surprise.

A hug.

The wind blew just so. It picked me up under my arms. I could swear it was strong enough to lift my shoes. It was warm. It moved the hair around on my head – like my mom always did. And it blew around me, then through me, and then past me, (on towards some other mission I suppose), but leaving me feeling, all at once, not-so-alone.

I think it was God.

I think He gave me a hug.


There’s this part of scripture where Paul is talking about living and dying. He’s writing to the Philippian Church and there he posits a rhetorical question about which to choose. He was feeling torn on the one-hand between living, and continuing his gospel-task, and on the other-hand in dying, to be with Christ, which is better by far. (1:19-26)

For me, this pericope is a great challenge. It’s pokes at the part of my soul-ship that I think is barnacled and crusted over and probably needs to be scraped away.

To live is Christ – yes. This I can understand, of course. And to die is gain because of Jesus – this I can understand too, but God forgive me, it’s not only gain to me because I get to see Jesus. (dare I say this outloud?)

It’s also gain to me because of that darned reunion. It’s because, there, we get to finish this twisted story. It’s because the middle of the third chapter of any novel is a terrible place to say….The End.

Which is why I’m glad it isn’t.

“Faith is being sure of what we hope for, and certain of what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1.

Thank you God for the wind.

Today I’m thinking of my dear wife and her family who, this year, said goodbye to a mother, a grand-mother, a great-grandmother and, just today, a son, a brother and a cousin.

I love you guys.

Here’s to that great and awesome reunion!

5 thoughts on “On Loss…and Reunions

  1. Sorry for your family's losses. Sometimes it is awfully hard to understand. During our 3rd trip to the hospital with our daughter she asked me, “Is God doing this, or is he just letting it happen?” How to answer? I await that great reunion!

  2. Praying for you all during this difficult time. Words cannot take away the grief you must feel. Just please know that some girl in Louisiana is praying for you and understands that while loss isn't easy, our God is bigger and knows our sorrow as well as our joy. Praise God that you can rely on Him and on each other during hardship.

  3. Oh no! What happened? Such sorrow. I am sorry. The post is wonderful though. God hugging in our sorrow and aloneness. With his breeze. He breathes life into our souls, He revives us with His breath. May you feel held during this time. Looking forward to that magnificent day with you! 🙂

  4. This post touched my heart and brought tears to my eyes, but tears that included the joy of the blessed hope we have in seeing Jesus.  Beautifully written.  Thank you for sharing.

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