Friday, August 19, 2011

Picture of Peace

In my grief, I have felt so alone.

In sharing my story, more and more people are coming out of the wood work, sharing their stories with me. I realize that I am not alone. I am among many (unfortunately) who have buried children.

I still feel all alone.

Grief is definitely a lonely road to navigate and travel. It is a crowded road yet a lonely one.

Grief is ugly. It is an awful, scary storm. I never know how hard the rain will fall, which direction the winds will blow, what darkness the clouds will bring. Some days I feel like there are rays of sun sneaking through the dark clouds and I am able to catch a glimpse of how life will go on.

 It will go on never the same, but it will go on.

Just as I am feeling some of the warmth that the sun brings, the dark clouds engulf me. My vision becomes blurred and then goes completely black.  I cannot see how I will go on. I have lost all desire to do so.

On paper, grief seems manageable and predictable.

There are five stages of grief. They are: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance.

I feel like there should be an astrisks at the bottom of the manual of grief. No one can really tell you how it is going to look when it rudely taps you on the shoulder. There are stages you may never approach and there are stages you will revisit. You can experience some of the stages simultaneously. Some of them you may only live through for a day or two and others that may last weeks or months.

It looks different for everyone. It affects each person differently.

Just when I think I have caught my breath, something comes up and knocks the wind out of me.

The more I view the world, the more heartache I see surrounding me.

Someone has just lost a parent, sibling, spouse, child.

Someone has just been faced with their own mortality as they are told they have terminal cancer.

Someone is caring for a loved one who no longer recognizes them.

And yet, the world continues to spin. The sun continues to rise each morning and set each night.

Life goes on.

We all will be faced with troubles and heartache in our lives.

In John 16:33, we are told by Jesus that In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

There is no if that precedes the word trouble. There is no promise that if you take a certain job, marry a certain person, have a certain number of children, or even when you decide to follow Christ, that you will be exempt from it.

It is almost like a guarantee. You WILL have trouble.

You learn a lot about yourself when things do not go according to your plan. When your life turns upside down on you.

In the book, Stories for the Heart, there is a story written by Catherine Marshall. It is a story of a king who offered a prize to the one who painted the best picture of peace. Many people submitted their pictures of what they thought peace looked like. The king narrowed it down to two pictures.

One picture was of a calm lake that reflected the mountains and a blue sky in the still waters.

The other picture was one of a storm complete with lightening and rocky mountains. A waterfall fell with anger down the side of one of the mountains. Behind the waterfall, a bush grew out of a crack in the rock. In the rock, a mother bird had built a nest. That mother bird rested in her nest as the storm raged on.

The king chose the second picture because "peace does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work. Peace means to be in the midst of all those things and still be calm in your heart."

Grief does not lend itself to "peaceful" times.

My desire is to still be at peace with the God who created me.

Joy is not the absence of pain but the presence of Christ.
from the book I Will Carry You by Angie Smith

 Lord, may I be at joy and peace in the midst of all this heartache.


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