When my father passed away many years ago, a friend of mine sent a card that was so helpful, I still draw on its wisdom. It compared the grieving process to walking along a beach. Imagine: your feet stroll along hard, packed sand, and you’re enjoying the view. Suddenly, a wave comes and it’s stronger than you expected. It throws your footing, and your arms go up to catch your balance. At worst, your feet come out from under you, and you land with a thud in the surf.
That’s a great metaphor for the grieving process. Grief flows into our lives at moments when we might really be feeling pretty good, or when we least expect it. The hardest part of losing a loved one is getting back to normal, after the funeral services and gatherings. Living the ordinary days without our loved one is challenging. That’s when grief can hit us like a wave. Fearing an undertow of pain, we try to hold the wave back. We may not give ourselves permission to cry.
But that is one of the best things we can do when grieving. When that wave of emotion strikes, rather than trying to hold it back with all our might, we can breathe into it instead. Over time, the grief will lose its punch. It never completely goes away, but it won’t knock us off our feet. We begin to fold the loss into our daily lives.
If you’re dealing with grief or loss of any kind, and you feel that wave coming, take a deep breath. God will be there with you. Let the tears come (if you’re in a place where you can), and let yourself cry. Trust those feelings and your vulnerability to God, and in that moment God’s grace will heal and lift the hurt so you can carry it more easily.
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