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?”

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.

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.

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. 💗

Character: Next Right

When you are a person of character, you won’t question IF you should do the right thing, because you’ll know the right thing must be done.

Character is proven in moments of difficulty or trial when it’s easier just to walk away. Character is sustained when a crisis arises, and criticisms and ridiculed may be at their worst. Character is deepened each time the right choices are chosen, regardless, the sacrifice or struggle that may be endured.

Ask yourself today, “Are you a person of character or a person of reputation (conformity)?” Do you stand alone to make the right choice, or will you bend and sway like a daffodil, depending upon the wind and waves to guide you?

Character Screams

A man or woman of character may not be numbered with the most popular, the most fashionable or the most affluent in the crowd. He or she may very well have each of these, but these won’t be the first assets he/she will seek.

This person will have deep roots, gentle eyes, and a soul that is anchored in peace and in truth. When gossip is given, her deep roots will sustain her. When chaos arises, his gentle eyes will see purpose and promise. When the storms of life threaten to overwhelm, the depths of her soul will not be shaken, for she knows where her strength rests.

People of character draw people of strength to their side. They live with purpose, promise and even preparation for the good and the bad, never relying on carnal and material things to be their refuge or their guide. They reside in a place of security, hope and freedom.

You will not have to question if he or she is a person of character, because what they do is not impulsive; it is a lifestyle.

Character will reveal itself through every action you take. It is the one thing that speaks louder than words. When you are the most silent, your character will actually scream to the world of its existence.

… What kind of character are YOU? …

Beautiful. Classy. Timeless. What every icon should be…

paigemadisonmckinney.com/2018/12/28/my-top-5-style-icons-and-why/

To Ponder

To me, pondering is like a rolling tide, swirling in loads and loads of seashells and sand. It’s like falling back into the deep, fresh fallen snow, sinking lower and lower till you almost have to dig yourself out. It’s the billowing clouds above shifting and turning with the wind, the jet streams drawing one near while sending another away. It’s the swirling of autumn leaves as they gently fall off the oak tree and spin and twirl toward the dirt in a waltzing dancelike motion.

You see, I ponder things. I wonder. I analyze. I muse. I imagine. I postulate and theorize until all facts and thoughts are gathered and brought to conclusion, and resolution, yet, attempting to not assume, surmise or conjecture. I meditate on scriptures, contemplating their meanings for my life and the course I might take. I cherish memories and reminisce of days gone by, how things were, how they might have been, and, sometimes, even how they should have been if the outcome was less than desirable.

It makes me think of the scripture spoken of the mother of Jesus, “But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.” (Luke 2:19) I am by no means aligning myself with Mary, as she was much more meek, humble and chosen. Yet, I think of how she might have pondered all the wonderful things about Christ, even from his birth, and I aspire to be like that. She seems to be a woman who pondered and mused the things that happened to her, to her family and to her children. She seemed to be a woman of deep thought, possibly even, a woman of few words. Taking things as they come, adjusting as she must, and living life with faith and strength through the good and the bad.

Yeah, I think I’d like to be like that, a person of that same character. And so, I ponder. I treasure. I cherish. I reflect. I nurture and cultivate the thoughts and happenings around me. I study, deliberate and reason why His Word tells me what it does. I pray these wonderings lead me deeper and deeper in my walk with Him.

So, I will ponder.

Will you?

17 Years … Have We Forgotten?

Written yesterday, on the 17th Anniversary of 9/11…

Consumed with memories today…

I will never forget the feelings as I sat on the bed in a hotel room in Cleveland, Tn, on this day 17 years ago. We were in town for a funeral, and I was holding JGrizz in my arms. He was only one month old. My mother knocked on my door to tell me what happened, and I didn’t believe her until I turned on the news. I sat in disbelief, shock, fear and grief as I watched all of the events play out. It felt like a nightmare, a terrible, never-ending bad dream.

How could this be happening in our nation, America, the home of the free and the brave? It was so overwhelming; it was almost hard to breathe. We went to The Blue Hole (a beautiful rock filled area on the Ocoee River) later that day just to try to collect our thoughts and the gravity of what this horror meant for our country.

Then, just days later, I watched with pride, honor and respect as men and women began pulling together as communities, people of all races, backgrounds and walks of life began looking past themselves to something bigger: the rebuilding, the protection, and the defense of a beautiful nation. Firefighters, police officers, welders, construction workers and so many others would come in droves from all over the country, on the backs of big rigs, stop at red lights in NY and be cheered on by the business men and women who were waiting to cross the streets to try to carry on a “new normal” workday. The builders rebuilt and mended the broken walls while the New Yorkers tried to make some semblance of understanding of their, now, broken city. Hope was slowly seeping into every crevice, chasing away the shadows, as love ones were pulled from the ruble, as small miracles were found along the way.

Everyone went the extra mile, wanting to leave no one behind. Everyone worked hand in hand, side by side, to restore the life, liberty and pursuit of happiness upon which this nation was founded. Bravery, chivalry and just sheer, raw, unapologetic guts and strength were applauded that day and each day thereafter.

It was a horrific tragedy, an unimaginable crisis that brought this nation together that year, because the pain, destruction and new purpose for healing was bigger than any trivial opinion, any mindless political jargon, and any petty argument brought about by boredom and self-exhalation. Let us NEVER FORGET what happened that day and the days, months, and years that followed. Let us never be so consumed with the frivolous manic speeches of today’s media and the inessential accusations and fallacies that it takes this kind of world shaking for God to once again get our attention as a nation.

Pray now, church.

Let us NEVER FORGET.

*I do my own not possess either of these pics. Found in a simple google search.*