The Loss of a Daughter
George Mylne, 1871
But is it a daughter that is gone? I feel for you, my friend. Great is your loss. You are wounded in a tender part indeed! You may have had many sons — at last a daughter came, and thus your fondest wish was gratified; and as you watched her in her growth and fond development, you lived on golden prospects as regarded her. She had just come to be your sweet companion — a help in household matters — in feeling, common sense, and judgment, your darling friend.
Oh, who can tell the fascination of a daughter — how she fills the eye, entwines the heart, shedding an atmosphere of light around her, filling the house with radiancy! What a blank her absence caused when she had left you for a season! What joy you felt at her return! Often, as she entered your room, your heart yearned over her. The very rustling of her dress enchained you, like music in your ear. Oft, as she tended you in sickness, or cheered you in your walks, you thought, "How could I do without her?" But God thought otherwise; He makes not human possibilities the measure of His rule — and now she is gone! She is no more! Vain would it be to seek her in her well-known haunts. Call her — she answers not! Her name, the very soul of melody, falls empty on the ear — hollow, yet full of retrospective meaning — and sweet, how passing sweet, in notes of present desolation!
Forth to her grave, perhaps, you go with flowery wreath, the fairest blossoms you could gather — choice emblems of your lily who is taken from you. You cast it on the tomb, and leave it there — for what? To deck the body moldering in the dust? Alas! it heeds you not, nor your sweet flowers! No more has it to do with earth, or earth's fair blossoms. What are the sweetest perfumes to the absent soul? For what, then, did you leave those flowers there? Simply to fade and die! To be the emblem of your lost one in corruption, as first they were of her in blushing life! And what is this, my friend, but to remind you of your misery — to make you feed on dust and ashes — to enter, as it were, within the tomb, and sojourn with the dead? And what does that advantage her? Or does it stay your bleeding heart? If you must have flowers to take them to the tomb — and leave them not there to wither. What a sight are faded flowers on a monumental stone! They hurt the eye, distress the feelings, and do violence to grief. You snatch them thence, to be replaced with others, only to mock you in their turn!
My sorrowing friend, think me not cruel (though unromantic, if you will), as one that chains you down to bare realities, and restrains your flight into the region of imaginative woe. I feel for you — I do, indeed. My natural mind would lead me in the same direction. If tasteful sorrow were consulted, I too would cast sweet flowers on the tomb. Plant growing flowers, if you will, to live and blossom there, if to your mind thereby the clods of the valley are made sweeter — sweeter to you; not sweeter to the slumbering dead.
But beware that you rest not in them for your consolation. There is no lasting comfort in romance, however innocent it be. Romance may blossom as the rose, and fade as quickly — and what you want is lasting consolation.
And, as you linger at the tomb, is there not One who says, "Why look you not to Me?" I beg you to listen to that tender voice — the voice of Jesus. He comes forth "with healing on His wings," to cure your sadness. It is in the sunlight of that mighty orb, the Prince of Peace, "the Sun of Righteousness" (Malachi 4:2), that you must seek the principle of blessing, peace, and consolation. But mark, you must seek it in His wounded side — in the fountain opened for sin and for uncleanness (Zech. 13:1) — the fountain of His Blood. For you must know Him as a Savior, before you can know Him as your consolation.
My friend, may you know the luxury of heartfelt sin, looking all the while to Jesus — for luxury it is to feel the tenderness of true repentance, while tears fall freely into His bottle (Psalm 56:8), all ready to receive them, and Jesus says, "Be of good cheer, your sins are forgiven!" (Matthew 9:2).
Thus shall you feel the comfort of His sympathy. But you must seek it with earnest, childlike prayer, saying —
Lord Jesus, save my guilty soul!
Lord Jesus, take my sins away!
Lord Jesus, allow me to see your dealings as I ought!
Lord Jesus, come and comfort me!
May the Lord receive your prayer, and may you say, I am much more blessed, for this painful visitation!