Michael would have turned 31 this past week.

February 11th whispered softly by. There was no birthday cake or fun celebration. Only a few silent tears for a precious little boy who for three years was a twinkling light on the path of those around him. Michael would be thirty-one years old. I will never forget the day when he came into the kitchen and took my hand. “Mom, come see,” he said with excitement in his dazzling blue eyes. I tried to hide the look of shock on my face as we walked into the master bedroom and viewed the walls gaily decorated in large swirls of orange crayon. I can remember saying, “Michael, that is really beautiful, honey, but crayons are meant to draw on paper, not walls. Let’s go see if we can find some paper for you!”

The years have come and gone, but my love for that sweet boy remains constant, as it should. For those of us who have lost a great love or loves in our life, that light doesn’t dim. But, what I have come to understand in my life is that as great as that love is, my love for God must be greater. Only by keeping God as my greatest love was I able to find the comfort, healing, and grace I needed to continue on.

In his work, The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis, Lewis tells the story of Pam, a woman who dies and is met by her younger brother, Reginald, who comes out of heaven to greet her. She is disappointed, hoping it would have been her own son, Michael, who she has been grieving for years. Pam’s love for Michael turned into an obsession after his death to the point that she abandoned her roles as a daughter, wife, and mother. Reginald tries to explain, “you exist as Michael’s mother only because you first exist as God’s Creature,” and, “You can’t love a fellow creature fully till you love God.” But, Pam would have none of it and replies, “no one has a right to come between me and my son. Not even God.”

Now Lewis doesn’t write Pam’s ending, but he is clearly saying that there is only one God. And if we believe in Him, then we must keep the first and greatest commandment that Jesus gave us, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” (Matt. 22:37) We are to worship Him alone. Without realizing it, even deep, true love can become a “false god.” Eventually it is no longer love, and it shreds the very fabric of our life. God is the source of all the love in our life, and when we make Him our deepest love, by following His Son, Jesus, even through our tears, He will bless us with the greatest reward of all – eternal glory with Him.

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