Grief: Authenticity is Healing

Be real while you grieve. Let the tears flow. Let the thoughts ponder. Let the grief run through your veins like a cold hard rain that just won’t stop.

Grief is never easy. It is never fun, or full of laughter or delightful. Honestly, grief sucks. Grief can make you feel like running far, far away or hiding in a corner until everyone is gone. Grief can even make you feel like crawling into that casket and being buried right alongside that person you’ve lost.

All those emotions, fears, anger, doubt and pain, it all comes with the territory of grief. It’s not a joy-ride, and it’s really not for the weak and whiny. Those who succeed best through the traumas of grief are those who allow those feelings to glow like rain. Those who live through grief and are able to help someone else through the same storm are those who allow themselves to be real and never try to live up to someone else’s expectations or demands on the grief.

Those who become stronger because of the grief are those who, while their hearts are being ripped from their very being, extend a look of compassion to someone else who is hurting, reach out with a gentle hand to wipe away a tear from someone else’s cheek whose heart is ripped out, too.

These are the heroes of grief. They are not mighty pillars of stoic strength, never shedding a tear. They are not mindless minions, never feeling, never crying, never screaming from the pain. They are simply common, ordinary people who have chosen not to cause someone else pain because of their own, but rather, they have chosen to be a wounded warrior, linking arms with the fallen and helping him to safety while their own body is ravished from the bullet wounds of agony and pain.

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Grief: Learning to Live

Grief isn’t fair. Grief isn’t gentle. Grief isn’t considerate, or gracious, or kind…or any of those nice words, really. Grief stinks. And that’s an understatement.

Grief makes you want to stop time, remove yourself from it, and retract minutes from eternity. It makes you want to return to simpler days, days where there were less cares, less tears, less pain.

Yet, life doesn’t work that way. Time moves on with or without you. The clock, living and breathing, keeps ticking until your heart doesn’t.

Demanding that it be any different is just as foolish as if I were to say, “I’m going to hold my breath until the sky turns green.” Demanding it to be different only causes you more pain, more regrets and more agony. Demanding others to remain stuck there with you only causes them more sorrow for the loss, more bitterness for your constraints and can even cause a dwarfism in growth for both you and them.

Ecclesiastes 7:2 says, “It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of everyone; the living should take this to heart.” Ecclesiastes 7:4 says, “The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of pleasure.” Ecclesiastes 3:4 says, “(there is) a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance…”

Time is the constant, grief is the variable and choice is the solvent in this equation called life. We can choose to drown in the river of grief and loss or dance in the torrential rains of grace.

Does the choice to dance make the journey through grief disappear? No. Does the choice to dance make the hours shorter or the days brighter? Maybe, maybe not. What I can assure you is when your perspective is focused on the dance more than the pain, it does make the burden a bit lighter, and it will cause the healing come in a bit stronger.

Dancing in the rain never dissipates the raindrops, and it never removes the moisture from your drenched hair and skin, but it surely will enable you to see the rainbow beyond the clouds.

I ask you, “What will you choose today?”

Tuesday’s Treats #165

Foggy Bottom BBQ

Location: Lawrenceville, Ga

Purely by accident did we end up here, and I’m so glad we did! We were attending an event down the road, and we had just a little while before the lunch hour was over. We knew we didn’t have time for our usual restaurant eating on the square, but we thought maybe bbq would be fast, and the place looked cool from the outside. So, we decided to give it a shot. Everything was amazing!

The pics are not wonderful, and my apologies. BBQ doesn’t usually lend itself to beautiful playing, unless maybe, you’ve gotten ribs plated by a chef. Lol. What is lacked in visual appeal, they definitely make up for in taste, quality and quantity. Oh. My.

The fried pickles appetizer is perfect. There about 6 pickles in the basket, and they’ve been tossed in a flour/cornmeal batter; so, be ready for the crunch! They’re also blazing hot; so, don’t blister the top of you mouth, as I did!

The brisket signature was amazing! The Texas toast, brisket piled high, and topped with a spicy pimento cheese was delicious and so filling, I couldn’t finish it all. The sides are just as good and plentiful. I got the fried okra and Mac and cheese. Others in our party got the turkey sandwich, the pulled pork, and the chicken sandwich. I can’t remember all their sides; some had baked beans and fried, but all of it was delicious! We will definitely be back!

Here’s the website for directions and menu items.

Grief: Learning to Breathe

Learning to BREATHE AGAIN is a normal process of grieving. Grief can be caused by so many variants. It can come from the loss of a physical being through death, both tragic or long-term illness. It can be from divorce, tragedy or abuse. It can even be from a severance of relationship due to danger or destruction.

I do not claim to have all the answers to this process of learning how to breathe again when grief invades. I do not claim to have all the knowledge afforded to those much older, wiser, and more experienced than I. However, I would like to point you to one resource I have found, and I believe it can help you on your journey with grief.

This resource, coupled with my personal faith in Jesus Christ, and intertwined with a host of leaders in my life, is helping me to learn the process of healing and enabling me to share a newfound hope with others…

Shameless Shout-out: I have begun listening more to Dr. Laura Schlessinger on XMRadio, and I just love her no-nonsense truth speaking! I appreciate how she deals with problems, people and the process of living. She gives incredible advice on grief, love, emotions, people, life, in general, and so much more!

Sometimes, when you are walking through the journey of grief, you need others to help you along the way. Sometimes, you need professionals who can give you proper perspective and appropriate approaches to this new you, this new life and this new “normal” you will encounter once grief enters your world. Sometimes, you’ll need to start listening to someone smarter than you, in order to simply learn to breathe again.

Dr. Laura is someone I would recommend to add to your resources, as you begin this journey of learning to breathe again, and as you walk this path of grief. The following pics are from her Instagram page. I encourage you to find her on any social media site, as well as, on XMRadio (Triumph 111) and start listening!

If you are a person who doesn’t just want to cope for the rest of your life, but you want to learn to breathe, to walk, to run, to even fly, listen to her and to people like her. If you are a person who appreciates self-improvements and learning how to deal with challenging situations and people, you will not be disappointed!

*Disclaimer: I am not recommending her as a spiritual advisor or counselor, as she never claims to be a pastor, teacher or even Christian instructor. She is simply a truth speaker who is not afraid of confrontation or spouts of emotional outburst and will “tell it like it is,” no matter the situation, conflict or difficult outcome that may result from the truth being told.

Grief: Learning to Believe

Grief:

You never “get over it.”

You simply learn to live through it.

Walking the journey of grief is different for every soul on the planet. How a person processes this life event is as different from one person to the next, as day is from night, as black is from white. You cannot expect it. You cannot predict it. Death comes when it is time, and no matter if it’s sudden or prolonged, if we have truly loved, we are never completely ready for it.

It seems some would say, “Just get over it. You’ve got living to do.” Others would say, “Relish in it. Milk it for all it’s worth. Let no one tell you you can’t.” Some would declare victory in an instant: “Your emotions are vindictive of your actions; so, shape up, soldier up, and suck it up.” Still others would proclaim your justification in reacting in any given fashion you choose, no matter the damage to another, and proclaim your innocence in staying in that emotional depth and despair for the rest of your life, no matter the destruction that it brings to you, your family or anyone nearby.

After walking this trail of sorrow several times in my life and walking alongside those, too many to count, who were doing the same, I have concluded four things:

1. Grief comes in many different forms.

2. Grief is a process.

3. Grief is different for each person.

4. Grief cannot be measured, dictated nor contained.

When you experience grief, it can be the most gut-wrenching, heartbreaking, soul-wrecking experience you’ve ever encountered. Nothing can prepare you for it, and no one can pre-determine your reaction to it. And sometimes, the only thing you can to do is learn to harshly suck in spurts of air through a solid, clinched jaw while you attempt to survive the next few moments of agony simply to (eventually ) fall asleep until awakened again by the same afflicting anguish of the heart.

I cannot tell you how to properly process grief. I will leave that to the “grief share” experts among us. I cannot tell you the appropriate actions and reactions you will need along this journey. I will leave that to the professionals in counseling and therapy. I cannot even tell you the time allotment for when the pain should lessen and when it will increase; even though, some of that measurement can be equated to certain dates on the calendar.

However, I have found one helpful source that will carry you through those grief-stricken days when no daylight seems to shine. I have found one solace that will stay faithful beyond the traumatic beginning moments, the doubtful, chaotic middle moments and can remain until your very last breath on this earth. If you can possibly believe for one second that this comfort I have found is able to surround you in your darkest hours and bring you a peace beyond measure, if you will but believe and grasp it, you might just be amazed at what is on the other side of your embrace. There is but one refuge, one rock, one sustaining, everlasting rescue that can be found.

His name is Jesus.

Some may say it’s a fallacy. Some may say it’s a hoax. Others may claim fantasy, fairytale or fable to be this truth. Yet, I can testify by my very being that what I say is inerrant, unfeigned and veracious. He is able. He is faithful. He will carry you.

Maybe you doubt my words. After all, you don’t know me. You don’t know my story. You don’t even know my God, but I challenge you to give Him a chance. Give Him just half a chance. I promise you, He won’t disappoint. Simply believe, and let Him surprise you.

Only One

I wonder how it feels to walk without shame. I wonder how it feels to run without guilt. I wonder how it feels to fly without regret and remorse as your wings.

Some seek solace in a bottle. Some seek refuge in a friend. Still others seek redemption in work ethics, rule setting or a religious embrace.

Tears shed for the years lost. Weeping is heard for the innocence stolen. Wailing is released for the lives bound by sin and disgrace.

Peace cannot be found in the chaos. Rest cannot be found in the confusion. Silence cannot be found in the clamor of opinions and directives.

Only One can bring Truth to shatter the veil. Only One can bring mercy to crumble the chains. Only One can bring justice to destroy the bondage.

One Name is Truth. One Life is Mercy. One look is Grace. One breath is Freedom.

Jesus.

Do you know Him?

Grief Like An Ocean’s Tide

Grief is such a difficult journey, and it’s different for every person who encounters it. Some scream, some cry, some wail, some cling, and some push away, and some even still simply walk away.

There seems to be no rhyme or reason to the reactions to grief. Grief is not selective. It doesn’t skip the wicked and only hit the believers of this religion or that. It doesn’t skip the rich and only threaten the poor. It is no respecter of persons. It is not bias to name, prestige, status, heritage or race.

Grief comes to us all, and if you think you’re excluded, well, just keep on living, my friend…

I read these two pics, and they seemed to just sum up almost all there is to know about grief. It is like a morning’s tide, except there’s no gadget, computer or orbital phase to help you schedule its rise, fall, or turbulence.

Sometimes, the waves roll in, and you just have to roll up your pant legs and wade until they roll back out. Other times, the sea rushes in so swiftly, without warning, and you just have to sink or swim, as you work hard just to keep your head above to catch a breath. Still other times, the tide pulls back awhile, giving the appearance that you can walk a little deeper, out to a sandbar or two, in order to find a bit of a reprieve.

As I struggle to describe the different phases of grief I’ve observed, I can’t claim to know all the answers of “Why?” “When?” or even “How much longer?” Yet, I may be able to give someone an answer to the “How?”

How can I go forward? How can I ease the pain? How can I be left here? How can I go on living without them?

For, I may not know much, but this one thing I do know! HE is an anchor that holds. Jesus is the Rock that I can cling to. I stand as a testimony, as a witness, that He will bring comfort in our darkest hour. He will carry us through every single step of this painful journey. With Him holding your hand, and sometimes, even picking you up to carry you, you CAN make it.

Afterthought…

This is one thing that He is absolutely amazing at doing: bringing comfort to the broken and giving grace to the desperate. I stand back in awe each and every time as I watch someone experiencing grief and leaning on Him as their source of strength.

Sometimes, it almost seems instantaneous the grace He gives, and other times, the depth of pain seems almost insurmountable; yet, each and every time, without fail, He comes through for those who believe. His promises are true. His love is unfailing, and His grace is so sufficient.

It doesn’t mean there everything is instantly washed away, and you never feel another moment of pain. It doesn’t mean you all of a sudden feel giddy and lightheaded, because the sorrow is no more. It doesn’t even mean, just with a snap of a finger, you somehow stop longing for the return of the one you lost.

No, the pain still rocks in like the tide. The sorrow still awakens you in the night as you reach for their hand. The longing in your heart still stretches to eternity. But the peace He brings, the grace He sustains, the stability He instills is worth giving Him the chance.

All we have to do is simply believe. When we believe and place our trust in Him, we are releasing His Holy Spirit to do what He does best. He is called The Comforter for a reason.

Tuesday’s Treats #164

Local Republic

Location: Lawrenceville, Ga

This is a really cool little joint in downtown Lawrenceville. The menu and the atmosphere is urban eclectic and the staff is friendly. It’s a bit of a small restaurant, by they do have an upstairs; so, if you walk in, and it appears packed downstairs, just check upstairs as well.

The pimento cheese bites are an A. M. A. Z. I. N. G. appetizer! It starts with a few crostini, topped with a scoop of pimento cheese, topped with a piece of bacon and a spicy jalapeño and sprinkled with smoked paprika. Wow! (and yes, I said spicy jalapeño, because these are full of seeds and pack a little punch!)

My husband ordered the fresh salmon on pimento cheese grits. Oh. My. He said it was one of the best he’s ever eaten. I ordered the Chicken and Cheese sandwich (much like a chicken philly), and as you can see from the pic, that thing is huge! I got mine with a side of grits as well. Everything was delicious, and almost everything they serve is farm to table fresh! They even have a listing of the local farms they use, as well as a daily special and a highlighted farm partner.

This was our first visit, and we will definitely be back! There are so many more menu items to try! Yum!!

Here is the website for you to find meal choices and location.

Crush the Pain

I absolutely love crushed ice. I love it so much that it makes me drink water when I need it. We don’t have an ice crushing machine at home, and I don’t really want to take up the counter space to get one; so, I crush my own. I have found that if I will just take the few extra minutes to crush the ice, I will drink almost a whole quart of water in one sitting.

I have also found that crushing ice, often times, releases tension and even frustration within me as I take the spoon firmly within my grasp and “pop” each ice cube into nice little slivers of crunch. It will usually bust holes in the ziplock bag I use, but that’s ok. I just consider it the vessel that’s “suffering for a good cause.” There have been moments when I’ve looked at each cube of ice and taken true “vengeance” out. It is truly a refreshing moment. 😂

It’s a great little lesson in “proper venting methods” that maybe someone reading this might find helpful.

This may sound silly to some, but for a moment, just think about it. I’m not screaming at my kids because of my frustrations. I’m not fussing with my husband, because I’m angry or feeling tension, and I’m not kicking a wall or driving erratic, because I’m struggling with trying to find some sort of ever evasive ‘inner peace.’ (not that I necessarily would do the latter, but just stay with me here…)

Maybe someone out there has been down this road of reactionary discontent, and you need to find a different outlet to release your stress. Now, this simple exercise might not work for everyone. You may truly need to go to the gym and run or hit a punching bag, but if you’re a “steam kettle,” like me, and you just need to release a little steam from time to time, you might want to try it.

Once, all the ice is crushed, pour it in your glass, fill it with water, and Enjoy! You’ve succeeded in refreshing your mind and your emotions, and you’ve done something beneficial and healthy for your body as well, without some medical application, crazy substance abuse, alcohol consumption or erratic behaviors.

Welcome to the world of emotional self control! 😉💕

Character Sustains

Talent can come with a birth. Popularity can come with a spotlight. Power can be gained in an moment of weakness.

Character isn’t born overnight, but it can be sustained over a lifetime.

Sometimes, you have to be patient to watch character arise from within, but once it arrives, there will be no question of its existence.

Just wait a minute or two. Don’t invest too early simply because the person entered with fireworks, glitz, glamour and a grandstand. Wait till the storm rolls in.

Then, you will know who your true friends are. The persons of character may be silent with all the clamor of the world around you, but when the tornadic disasters of life slam against your heart, these will be the ones screaming as they rise from the ashes to stand by your side. 💗