I’ve been thinking about Gratitude… and the dark cloud of Grief –
Don’t get me wrong – I am not grateful to be grieving.
But I likely did not have to say that, for many of you have been there, or are there: still grieving the loss of someone dear to you. The grief cloud is always there…
But I can’t stop thinking of that Scottish pastor’s comment about his friend who got to glory before him – “Every time I think of him, I have a wee party in my heart.” I get that – I do celebrate every time I think of Laurie – we had a pretty wonderful relationship and I admired her ability to laugh and take life as it came. She had that attitude of gratitude. Our daughter was comfortable in her own skin, and big on praise and prayer. She told me shortly before she died, that some of her friends said they were not sure if prayer worked, but she was certain.
It is odd to think of your child leaving you, the parent, a legacy of prayer and praise (including the partially checked off list from her Bible which she was meditating on). So, honoring that legacy and love, I am determined to look for and acknowledge gratitude and praise for the things that have not changed in my life: family, friends, faith, beauty and for those that constantly change, like the opportunity of choice of attitude.
Grace shown by family (past and present), a good memory and lots of photos make it easy to list pages of gratitudes and praises of the past. But new things are happening in my life and in the life of extended family. Poking through the cloud of grief to reveal present sunshine and glimmers of the future, take a bit more intentional action and dark-cloud skimming.
Without intentionally poking holes in the cloud, darkness obliterates the light that IS shining – the light that CONTINUES to shine, despite the cloud. It is just hard to see it when looking only at the cloud. Unless you look through the shape of the lamb.
I’ve found three things that are lightening my grief cloud and revealing light:
- Facing the fact that the dark emotions of grief stir up regrets and bitterness. I’m sure the enemy has missile-seeking stir-spoons ready to encourage these to boil over, or catch on fire – if I let them. OR – I can list them, face them, and give them to the one who already conquered them.
Hard to do. It is “natural” to feel individuals should have to pay for actual or perceived action whether intentional or unintentional. I know I spend far too much time wondering if I could have or should have done or reacted to some situations or things differently. Will wondering and worrying over these issues change anything? Of course not, and that thought can either bring one to the edge of desperation, or to the place of release.
Our children quickly learned the consequence for owning up to any action with the release of the truth (confession) and regret (desiring not to repeat) was far more healing than the pain of covering a thorn and trying to ignore it. They could co out with joy after receiving the gift of forgiveness. No more under the cloud, like Linus from Peanuts.
I too am still learning to open up to God and allowing him to apply his healing poultice to withdraw the poison of clinging to what has been forgiven.
Each time I acknowledge God’s presence and power over a feeling or a situation, it lightens the cloud, and reminds me that despite the cloud, you can, you will again fly like an eagle for Him.
2) Also I am learning to care for my soul. Making daily choices toward health (which includes the body). I’ve read the verses – and taught them – on our body being God’s temple. It is so much easier to apply those concepts to others than it is for myself – particularly if I view my temple from under the cloud.
Too many times I have allowed my cloud to accept enemy shrapnel, leaving the “feeling” that I deserve it, so I need to slog through it.
But if I accept that lie, aren’t I saying Christ’s sacrifice was not enough?
So that temple where Christ has come to reside- my soul, within my body – do I have a responsibility to care for it?
1Cor. 3:17 (The Message) – No one will get by with vandalizing God’s temple, you can be sure of that. God’s temple is sacred—and you, remember, are the temple.
I have light, knowledge, instruction and gifted people in my life that teach health to body and soul. I have no excuse to do otherwise.
I do not want to be guilty of vandalizing God’s temple!
3) Journal from Yesterday: I’ve found if I look at yesterday it gives me a better view of actual progress and more incentive to continue or improve for today. So yesterday: A) what did God teach me, cover for me, promise me; B) what did I do to care for my soul and C) was I able to bless others?
The cloud is thinning. It will always be there, but will, I believe, continue to become more transparent.
1Th. 4:13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve, as do the rest who have no hope.
I am grateful to have that hope.