Thursday, August 31, 2017

The Beauty of Grief

Grief is a complex emotion. To grieve indicates loss usually of something or someone precious and dear. There are no pat answers to grief and no one prescribed way to handle grief. There is a time to mourn and a time to rejoice (Ecclesiastes 3:4), so while there's no time frame there's a limit to grief. When Naomi lost her husband and subsequently her sons it seemed as if her world was falling apart. She was in a strange land, with no immediate family and two daughters in law - Ruth, and Orpah. In her grief, she decided it was best to go back home but Ruth chose to stay with her. Ruth chose to leave her country and cling to, travel with her mother in law. Ruth was also alone, for her husband, Naomi's son had died. So it was a circle of grief. But grief provided the impetus to go home, for Naomi, and may have allowed Ruth to connect with her. Ruth clung to Naomi (Ruth 1:14).

Grief isn't all bad. It gave these two women courage to travel alone and return to Bethlehem. It provided clarity and a little foolhardiness as it was rare for two women to be traveling alone over a lengthy period of time in those days. This journey may have taken anywhere from seven to ten days and it involved steep elevations and river crossings. All of that physical activity may have dulled the grief that both felt as they could only rely on God and each other. We know how the story of Naomi and Ruth ends, but they both had to go through their grief to get to the other side.

The anniversary of my mother's passing is September 1st and while sometimes I feel lost, the majority of the time since my mother's passing I have felt purposeful. Her death has lit a fire under my butt that reinforces that life is too short, life is for living, and there's no need to be afraid to try anything. Yes in a strange way my mother's death has given me a new lease on life. Since her passing, I have experienced a range of emotions. For example, when my mother was transitioning, and I saw how unmoored my dad was becoming I crazily thought that if my husband and I could die at the same time it would be good. Losing a life partner is difficult. There were established routines, and in death, there are no more.

I'm sure Naomi felt unsure of herself with the loss of her husband. And then when she thought she was getting a handle on things, her sons died. Even in grief, life goes on. In your grief, you may initially feel like Naomi - like the Lord has raised his fist to you; it's OK to acknowledge this feeling. But life goes on - there's still aspirations, dreams and hope while still dealing with the mundane and the minutiae. Life goes on. Hopefully, someone comes along to provide support, until you are able to do the same for others. Keep busy. Give all of your anguish to God for he understands. Allow grief to change your perspective on life and become more appreciative of every day you are given.

For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime!
Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes in the morning. Psalms 30:5

How has the loss of someone changed you? May it ultimately change you for the better.

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  1. You are so right, Nylse, there is beauty to be found even in the pain of grief. I wish you beautiful memories as you remember your mom tomorrow.

  2. There are losses that have had a profound impact on my life. And I believe that each one of them changed me for the better in different ways. I'm grateful for the lessons but now and then I still have days when I wish each of those dear ones was still around.


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