Gratitude and Grief, part 2

I hope that this finds you well and happy after a blessed Thanksgiving with friends and family. I was a little shocked and very pleased to see that social media was kind this weekend and implored other’s to be kind as well. That is a nice change for the better. And something we can all be very thankful for!

But you may have spent part of your holiday with someone who is grieving. Or maybe you are the grieved this holiday season.

We care for you, those of us who have been there know what your feeling and we are praying for you. It is hard, but you will get through it.

I’m going to let Amy K. Hines take it from here with her brilliant description of this issue:

Grief

Five letters. Five life-changing, mind-altering, soul-shaking little letters.

Grief is not the antithesis of happiness or joy. It’s so much more, because it allows both moments of joy and happiness to saunter in and hang around for brief or even extended periods of time before it swoops in to reclaim its territory. It often invites its friends depression, anxiety, and fear along for the ride to ensure our full cooperation. You see, grief knows it’s life span is seasonal and uses this knowledge against us.

Grief will drape itself around you like a warm blanket, soothing, reassuring and comforting. Then just as easily, it will wrap around your neck in noose-like fashion, choking, smothering, destroying. Worse yet, if allowed, it will launch a preemptive strike on your heart; clenching it in a seemingly unshakable vice, which leads you to believe it will never leave you and you will never recover. But, never say never…

Grief operates under the assumption that we are not willing to fully explore the depths of our loss and pain. And seriously, who really wants to sign up for that? The truth is, you do. I do. We all should. There is healing in discovery. Remember, the truth will set you free.

Grief can be friend or foe, and that depends solely on how we choose to interact with it. Like any other rogue emotion, we have to constantly put grief in its place. We must always remind it who is the boss, and that goes for the friends, depression, anxiety and fear as well.

Grief can lead you down the pathway to healing or send you spiraling into the abyss of emotional damage. The choice is ours. We can choose to let grief do what it was designed to do, help us mourn and move on or we can choose to allow it consume us.

I recommend the former, and I’m pretty sure whomever or whatever you’ve lost would say the same.

Amy, thank you for sharing your wisdom with us. Grief is a hard one, a path none of us wish to walk, but in season, walk we must.

This holiday season, let’s all be kind to those on this path and share our love, prayers and kindness with them all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gratitude and grief

 

 

pianoThe season of gratitude is upon us. Tomorrow many will be gathered around tables laden with food and follow a tradition of verbalizing what they are grateful for. I love this tradition. I love hearing what pleases the heart of the speaker. I love hearing the different things that people are thankful for. Some make speeches and some falter and laugh and can only manage that they are grateful for a good meal, or football.

Gratitude reaffirms the heart.  It’s a heart change that acknowledges goodness and places focus where it should be, on good things, abundance and LIFE.

But I have always worried about those who have circumstances that seem impossible to be grateful for. What will they say? How will they manage to “fit in” this season when life has thrown nothing but curve balls all year? What if they are in a season of crushing losses, defeat, health crisis’ or even facing death? What are you grateful for now?

A wise old nurse told me one Thanksgiving, “I felt sorry for myself because I didn’t have new boots. Then I took care of the diabetic who just lost both her feet.” She smiled and offered me some of her homemade cranberry sauce.

Um, ok. Wow. Good visual, but does the fact that there is always someone out there somewhere in worse circumstances make your personal circumstance better? Easier to bear?

It’s all a matter of perspective. I can look down and see the muck at the bottom of my pity pit or I can look up and see the light. No matter what happens or is happening on this sphere, my ultimate destination is heaven. My Redeemer lives and so will I. If I can give thanks for NOTHING else– that is enough!

And rather than hide that light under a bush I can share it with other’s who may not know the Light, or have that Hope of Heaven. If nothing else, I can still provide that to someone in need of comforting.  In this current season of my own life, I am grateful for that.

So let us be a grateful people.

Let us not allow divisive politics, depression, social issues, health crisis’, loneliness,  monetary woe’s, or anything else to mar this season of gratitude. Let’s share our light, our gratitude, and allow Light to overcome darkness in this land and in our lives.

 

That being said, there will be those among us who are grieving. This will be the first holiday season spent with out a loved one who has passed on. This is incredibly difficult. I can tell you from personal experience that Christmas has never been the same for me since loosing my mother. She adored the holidays and Christmas was her time of year to shine. Christmas will always be dimmer without her light shining here on this earth, and the first few were especially hard. So let’s be grateful for everyone in our lives and extend comfort to those who are missing someone special to them. They may have a hard time coming up with something to say at the table while their mind does mental gymnastics around the missing one. We can be grateful that we can extend kindness to them and let them work through it without condemnation.

This weekend I will posting a guest blog from Amy K. Hines related to this subject and I hope you enjoy her thoughts as much as I do.

And I am grateful you spent the time to read this post and I pray you have a BLESSED Thanksgiving full of joy!

photo used in this post is courtesy of Zan Phillips, Zan Phillips Photography, Jackson Mississippi. Thank you Zan for sharing your amazing work with us!