Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Grief is as tricky as love. I’m baffled by it, because it seems there is no predicting what it will look like on a case-to-case basis. The funny thing is, now that I’ve experienced it, I feel no more qualified to help someone with hers unless it followed a path similar to my own—and that has rarely been the case!
This is something that caught me off guard because I expected to be able to relate to anyone who has been through the process of grieving, especially if it was grief for a child, but I’ve found that’s not really how it works. I’m not saying there’s not a special bond of understanding, because there is, but what I've noticed is that each experience is so different!! Similar situations by no means dictate similar responses. Now that I take the time to think about it, it makes sense. It’s the same with love. We all have a different experience with it, but that doesn’t mean we can’t relate to each other if our experience with it aren’t identical. It just means that we need to approach it from the perspective that it is different for everyone.
That’s the main thing I’ve been learning. Different is simply different. That was frustrating at first because I have something in me that wants to be able to tell someone “That’s exactly what I went through. I understand!" But that’s not going to be the case most of the time. So I’ve realized I don’t have to try and find common ground; I just have to love and ask God for the right ways to pray.
Is there a right and a wrong? I don’t think so. I think there are many rights and many wrongs. There are a lot of ways to do grieving in a way that is healthy and moves through everything necessary to heal. There are also a lot of ways to grieve in a way that will leave you damaged and broken. My job, no matter the case, is not to judge but to pray.
While I’ve been mulling this over, spring has been sitting on the doorstep. It is so beautiful this year, and Marianna, Nathan and I jumped in full force. We’ve planted flowers, we go to the park or on a walk daily, we’ve been to the zoo on the weekends, we’ve drawn chalk on the sidewalk and blown bubbles in the yard, we’ve played soccer and helped Marianna ride her bike. It’s been perfect. Spring in my life just happened to coincide with spring in Memphis.
I don’t understand grief, but I know from experience that whatever the path it takes, God can bring you out of the winter and into the spring. I read something in Luke 1 that I thought was really beautiful. Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist, is speaking of his son, who will be the one to go before the Lord and prepare the way. He says he will "give to His people the knowledge of salvation by the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, with which the Sunrise from on high will visit us, to shine upon those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace."