Dichotomy. Webster’s definition: a division or contrast between two things that are opposed or entirely different. I know what dichotomy means. I can even use it in a sentence.  But I did not know I could live it.  Until Grant died, I wasn’t aware that a soul could feel two things simultaneously that were diametrically opposed; soul crushing pain with exuberant hope, struggling to trust with absolute certainty, heart breaking dread with sweet anticipation, profound sadness with utter joy.

I found myself in another situation where there were competing emotions in my soul this week. Jordan, one of Grant’s life long friends, was married.  I lived with dichotomy in my heart and soul all week. As I helped with wedding preparations, exuberant happiness lived next door to sad reality in my heart.  So happy for Jordan and Paige; profoundly sad that will never be Grant.

Jordan paid honor to Grant, at his wedding, and it meant more to our family than we will ever be able to communicate to them.  Grant was supposed to be in Jordan and Paige’s wedding.  Of course, he couldn’t be.  But his name was still in their Wedding Program (with an asterick next to it) in Jordan’s line up of Groomsmen.  You see, rather than replace Grant’s spot, Jordan chose to leave that spot empty and explained why on the back of their wedding program.  What follows is what Jordan wrote for all of the guests to read…

I knew Grant my entire life. We grew up jumping on the trampoline, playing in the pool, eating popsicles, going to school, and playing music together.  Nearly every fond memory that I have from my childhood involves Grant in some way.  From the time that I threw a brick in the air and it landed on Grant’s head to the time that we started a band, we were always as close as brothers and knew that we would be involved in each other’s weddings.  Grant was the type of friend that you could bond with without ever saying more than a half dozen words, a characteristic that I valued and shared with him.  He was the type of friend that the Bible says sticks closer than a brother, and I can’t ever remember him saying an unkind word about anyone.  He possessed the rare combination of confidence and humility that influenced everyone around him, without being the center of attention. He was a light that shone quiet but bright, steady, and consistently.

Tragically, Grant was involved in a fatal motorcycle accident on the day that Paige and I were engaged.  Although we were unaware until the next day when Grant passed away.  We missed him at our engagement party and did not know why he wasn’t there.  He was missed that night, and every night since then.  Grant would have been one of my groomsmen were he still with us, but in the sovereign plan of God that was not to be.  He has moved on to be with Jesus now, and Paige and I have faith that we will celebrate with him at a different marriage banquet in heaven.  Only that one will be much grander, sweeter, and fulfilling as the body of Christ is united together with Jesus Christ.  It didn’t feel right to replace Grant in my wedding party, so I will have 6 groomsmen to Paige’s 7 bridesmaids, as a way of honoring Grant’s honorable life and death.  

Dichotomy, competing emotions side by side; deep gratefulness, unspeakable anguish, celebrating and suffering…

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4 Responses to wedding

  1. Nancy says:

    I share a wedding memory much like this one that you express so well, Alisa, and understand that dichotomy.. “exuberant happiness lived next door to sad reality in my heart.” Grant’s friend’s tribute on the program reminded me of the memorial made to my daughter at her life friend’s wedding. ❤ That friend gave our daughter's name to her first baby girl….again, bittersweet. We walk thru these experiences in silent anguish..not wanting attention to our loss…not wanting to bring a dark cloud over a joyous event…celebrating and suffering…with God knowing every inch of our conflicted heart. My heart goes out to you as you face all of these "firsts"…and want to remind you that it will get better…it will get easier…Promise!

    • Alisa says:

      Nancy, thank you for this. Thank you for taking the time to write. It helps so much. And just to hear you say “it will get easier” forces me to live with a dichotomy. I am so so tired of the weariness and pain. Somedays the mere exhaustion from it makes me long for easier days. But then, there’s the other side…I don’t want it to get easier. I don’t want so much time to go by that I can muse on memories without the pain. This suffering causes conflict in my heart. It seems there are always at least 2 things competing for prominence. Thank you thank you again, for writing. Hugs

  2. Nancy says:

    Musing on the memories without the “intensity” of the pain is far better…truly..and it will come with time. The conflict will not grip your heart with thorny claws…it will change to moments of wistful aching that dissipate and you move forward. You must feel what you feel for now…it is part of the process. ❤ Praying for you as I write for the Lord to smooth over those sharp edges in His most gentle way.

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