by Joanie Butman
A number of people I know have recently lost loved ones. I’ve been praying for one in particular who is burdened with anger and bitterness. The same day I began lifting him up in prayer I found myself behind an elderly woman at Kinkos. As I was waiting my turn, I asked her what kind of project she was working on. Ironically, she was printing cards to be distributed to those who have suffered a loss in their life. It’s interesting to note my devotional for that morning that read, “Your time of being still in My Presence equips you for the day ahead of you. Only I know what will happen to you this day. I have arranged the events you will encounter as you go along your way.” I’ve always been told Christ meets you where you are. I guess that includes Kinkos! At any rate, that woman’s wise words describe a choice point we’ll all find ourselves facing sooner or later so I thought I’d pass them along.
We can shed tears that they are gone,
or smile because they lived.
We can close our eyes and pray they will come back,
or we can open our eyes and see what they have left us.
Our hearts can be empty because we can no longer see them,
or we can fill our hearts with the love we shared.
We can forget about tomorrow and live in yesterday,
or we can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday!
We can remember them and only that they are gone,
or we can cherish their memory and let it live on.
We can cry and close our mind,
or we can do what our loved ones would want us to do…
Smile, open our eyes and move on with a grateful heart!
Even though the meeting was timely, I know my friend is not ready to hear her sage advice. After any death there is a grieving process that needs to be respected. Slogging through the five stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance) is a process that can’t be rushed or denied. Many have tried, but it just delays the inevitable. The process will look different for each of us as will the pace. However, eventually we'll arrive at a juncture where the choices she mentions will determine how we coexist with our loss.
Nothing will ever fill the aching void in your heart, but the peace of Christ which transcends human understanding can soften the sharp edges and infuse his healing light into the dark night of your soul. Why not choose to let His love and comfort carry you through to the other side of your pain.