Around this time two years ago my 84 year old Dad died. Grieving is rough. I miss my Dad and I wish he was still here.
The first thing a child does is scream for their balloon to come back when the air takes it away. Helplessly the child stands weeping and upset that nothing can be done to bring it back.
The first few weeks after my Dad died I felt my heart screaming like a little child whose balloon flew away.
Sometimes I still do. It’s hard.
Today I would like to introduce you to Sara who also is missing her Dad who is up in Heaven. Sara has a gift of finding the lovely no matter what season of life she is in. A matter of fact her blog is called – Find The Lovely.
I received 3 phone calls on July 12, 2013. The first was from Dad, his weekly check-in from one state away. We gabbed and chuckled. I put the girls on the phone to chat with him. We parted with “I love you.” The second phone call was from my brother. Dad had collapsed. He was being rushed to the hospital. The third: “He’s gone.”
As abrupt as that, life can end.
Anyone who doesn’t fully comprehend how short life is has never had a third phone call.
Grief is universal and inevitable.
Grief is also a game changer.
Over the last year, I have discovered this to be true in many ways in my view of the world.
- I have put less emphasis on the material side of life. Not that I was especially materialistic to begin with, but after seeing Dad’s 62-year life reduced to figures on a court document, I just can’t deny how empty possessions are. They burn, rust, break, disappear and get sold at auction. In their place is only air. The sentimental things hurt to lose — like our 104-year-old family farm — but guess what? I can’t sneak a farm into Heaven.
- My capacity to forgive has increased exponentially. People make bad choices; they make even worse choices in grief. This often leads to family squabbles and torn relationships. Being able to see these actions for what they are — motivated by hurt and human nature — and recognizing they have absolutely zero bearing on how Dad valued me, was (is) an uphill battle. But it’s worth fighting. Because on the other end of this thing is something much more lovely than any earthly treasure.
- I’ve cried uncontrollably in public. And I’m not embarrassed, apologetic or less. I just may do it again, should the situation be right. If Jesus wept in grief, by golly there is no shame in me doing the same.
- I actively seek help/counsel. Pride is a nasty thing. Pride makes us something we are really not: fine. Too many people have walked the road of pain, some more intense than mine, for me not to draw from their wisdom. What an invaluable well they have proven to be!
- I’ve learned not to ask a hurting person what they need or offer simple platitudes, and instead just do something. Anything. Bring a meal. Send a gift card. Clean their house. Give them something they need. Sit and listen to them talk, without saying a word myself. Although I appreciated the notes of condolences and encouragement, and do not mean to discount them, when friends or neighbors extended help without asking, it relieved me in ways I didn’t even know I needed relief.
- I can more easily spot the signs of hurt. Which circles back to #5.
- I press on with more abandon to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me (Phil. 3:12). This life is only the beginning. So there really is no good excuse for not giving more toward the eternal. After all, eternity is the only thing that can’t be reduced to figures on a document.
Keep looking for the lovely,
Your turn: How has grief changed you? Share in the comments.