Monday, February 20, 2017

May as Well Give Hope a Try

Spiritual deadlock. Then God breaks through. Subtly, though decisively. God seems to say, no-tongue-in-cheek, “You may as well give hope a try. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain in hoping forward of the present moment, no matter how daunting the near future may look.”
It was as if He spoke those Words into my spirit implicitly, as if I could discern what He had said through the spiritual transition I had experienced.
I’d had just three hours’ sleep, yet I woke up with a resolve to do what I could each moment. Not much effort required. No need for extraneous, beleaguering thought. But I only realised through the benefit of reflecting in the present and via hindsight. I had presented with a confidence that belied my tiredness. I was service-oriented, able to desire the best result for others I was serving, without effort. It was as if God had revived me from the inside out. And, I had not expected it. A hope returned is a peace regained.
Of course, like many Christians have, I’ve experienced this rising-from-the-ashes-resurrection many times. It proves the hope we hold to is real. It ushers into truthful existence, that, metaphorically speaking, while there are tears in the night, joy returns in the morning (Psalm 30:5).
The fact is, no matter our circumstances, it does us no ultimate good ever to complain incessantly, or to focus on the negatives. Not that we’re judged for staying in the doldrums. We simply remain there, that’s all. But to press forward into the burgeoning reality of our hour, hopefully, is really the only viable choice.
And, it is a choice — to do what can be done. To effuse light rather than perpetuate darkness, even if darkness is all we see and feel.
Pushing past the darkness is but a decision of faith away. But what underpins all this is the movement of God massaged within the nodules of our spirit. We can no more ‘try’ to have hope than we can achieve it in our own strength. So, ‘trying’ is a dichotomy. It will lead us to an oblivion of despair. Yet, giving hope a try is staying positive no matter what is coming.
It is far better to pray, to be still, to take the pressure down, to desire God move, rather than to move out in our own frail wisdom.
God’s revelation is pure in the fact that hope is a light that returns to the mind, as it moves the body freer, healing the heart.
Hope returns inbound of prayer, having richly desired and sought it. As it breaks through as fresh light, it offers itself to us, as we true believers keenly embark.
Evidence of a hope returned: life is no burden. The mind free, the heart unrestrained, a hope returned, is a peace regained.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Finding Hope When Nothing’s Working

Sliding into a depression is ugly. Enduring anxiety can feel an infernal torment. And a double-whammy is overwhelming. Being overwhelmed gives me, at least, the impression that nothing’s working; that everything in life is crashing and burning. Logically it’s not that way at all, but we can get to the point where it feels like this.
There’s always a lot of inner dialogue going on whenever I’m feeling overwhelmed. Although awareness is usually a Godsend, knowing that it’s the noise within my own head, however, doesn’t help me much. In fact, the more conscious I am of it, the more overwhelmed I can feel.
When we can’t get out of our own minds there are a few avenues we can slide down — panic, at one end of the spectrum, for one; despair, at the other end of the spectrum, for another.
Somehow, we need to find hope, because hope opens the door to joy and eventually peace. Hope also encourages us to apply faith. Hope infills panic with calm, and it augments despair with patience.
I’ve found that when my mind is obsessing about overwhelming matters I need healthy diversions of focus. The best of these is connection through sharing vulnerably with caring others. Provided we have these people in our lives, and we utilise them, these connections give us the ability to share honestly and receive the encouragement of reassurance. They balance our negative self-talk with encouraging truths we need to hear.
On a practical level, knowing we need healthy diversions of focus is one thing; achieving same is clearly another thing altogether. It can feel an impossibility to do. If nothing else, if you’re reading these words, please know you have someone (among the many who do) who understands how confounding it is.
It’s encouraging when we know there are others, too, who suffer for having no simple way of negotiating such confused messes.
But this is a real hope:
When we believe in the power of sharing honestly with caring others
we find those people help relieve our burdens.
In addition, when we trust someone
who cares for us with our struggles,
those struggles diminish
and our minds and hearts are helped.
And if we ever feel we’ve overburdened people with our problems, we can try to find a few equally caring people who we can spread the load with.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Journeying Into Springsteen’s Badlands Wisdom

Badlands, you gotta live it every day
Let the broken hearts stand
As the price you’ve gotta pay
Keep pushin’ until it’s understood
And these Badlands start treating us good.
(chorus of the song, Badlands, by Bruce Springsteen)
Philosophy peddled as rock music. Listen into the words and melody of this 1978 Springsteen classic and in it is a worldly way to live this life that can be juxtaposed with the biblical way of living this life.
Springsteen has written this song for the common battler. It’s an important song with an ever-poignant title. Whoever lives the life of truth knows that reality makes most of us feel the ways the song talks about.
The only way to enjoy this life is to embrace it,
the Badlands as they are.
So many of us seem won to a dream that seems ever out of our grasp. As if to avoid the Badlands, the life as we know it. Badlands tells us not so much to give up on the dream, the calling, but to stop waiting, to not waste our time waiting. John Lennon said life is what happens when we’re busy making other plans. Making plans incessantly is the easiest way to miss this life. We ought simply to live it.
The nature of life is it seems dog eat dog. Poor men want to be rich, the rich want to be kings, and kings aren’t satisfied until they rule everything. But the gold of life is in the lessons we learn. These are the things we can count as real blessings. They show us the product of our progress, the only real possession.
Faith, hope and love rate this mention — that one day they might elevate him high above these Badlands. The promise of eternity believed and enshrined within. What other hope is worthy of our faith in this oft-difficult life? Other than the snippets of joy that come from the simplest gratitude.
It’s no sin to be glad we’re alive. It’s a blessing. The notion that’s deep inside us all is we need to feel we belong wherever we feel God has set us; this, to be glad to be alive.
We may feel there are still too many looking straight through us — ignoring us. We may see more those who reject us than accept us. These are common problems, though not impossible to overcome.
These Badlands are treating us good if we see their role, which is to teach us about life, specifically, our lives.
This is what I think the song is saying in sum:
This life, if it’s the life of learning,
Satisfies only the seeker,
And in becoming meeker,
Satisfied are we in our yearning.

Friday, February 10, 2017

God Compensates for the Worst by Redeeming for us the Best

The world hates suffering. None of us like it. But it is necessary for the better things to come. But that isn’t a theology many, if anyone, in our day will be comfortable with.
Something happens to us when we suffer. Coming quickly to the end of our own strength, we realise how much we took life for granted when it was easy. Or, without suffering, how pathetically ill-equipped we were to live a good life. When we suffer, our whole internal, personal, private world has imploded and there’s nothing we can do to fix it. Actually, the more dire and untenable the situation, the better.
Suffering is by nature irreconcilable, and no Christian can reach anywhere near their full potential unless they have experienced such a pitiable, back-against-the-wall reality.
Suffering is the greatest enabler of the single-path journey. It leaves us no choice but to travel earnestly in the fear of the Lord. Having no option open to us but faith, suffering compels and propels us forward in knowing faith is the only way, no matter how hard it is. Any compromise into supposedly easier journeys ahead are rejected no matter how easy or appropriate they would seem to be.
By suffering the only way God can help us,
He compensates us by giving us
our purpose and abilities to achieve it.
In suffering, we’re driven past our normal responses of ambivalence into unprecedented territory. Finally, God has us in a position that rivals the great white throne judgment. From there, there’s no choice open to us, because there’s a truth to be told.
Suffering forces us to acknowledge the harsh truth, and live with it in such an unescapable way that we must get better. Suffering wakes us up from our spiritual slumber and makes us cling to God more ardently than ever.
It is from this standpoint that God gives us the dream we’ve long awaited, together with the gifts He’s prepared in advance for us to have.
Through suffering the only way God can help us, He somehow makes up for the pain we endured, giving us a special purpose, and gifts to help us execute that purpose.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Expect Life to be Hard and it gets Easier

The easiest way of making life easier is to redefine what we presently think is hard.
If we think something is hard we won’t enjoy that thing, unless we see the purpose or benefit in doing or enduring the hard thing.
If we expect life to be easy, we’re soon disappointed. Expecting life to be easy is the commonest insanity. But, where we anticipate life to be tough, life is suddenly made much easier because our expectations are right-sized to reality. For life is easy for nobody.
Yet reality is an authentic friend to all
who ply courage and humility; who love truth.
Life is tough, always has been, always will be. But when we accept life is tough, it gets easier.
Surely a purpose of life is to endure hardship better so we’re able to experience more joy. The opportunity we all have is to recalibrate how we perceive difficulty. The more prepared we are for a range of difficulty, the more resilient we will in fact be.
Recalibrating our perception of difficulty has got to be about faith, even for the irreligious.
Faith has this direct benefit. It trusts that enduring hardship makes us stronger, more resilient, mature persons. There’s a payoff for our sacrifice of endurance. When we believe something good compensates us for enduring something hard, our actual experience of life is made easier, because we see the purpose.
We can do anything if we see the purpose and agree it’s worthwhile. And in faith there is purpose in enduring misfortune well… to struggle well.
That’s faith. It trusts that enduring adversity is good, for it knows that there’s no other sane option. And when faith is vindicated, we redeem what goodness and growth would not be ours otherwise.
When immersed in the sea of difficulty we either sink or swim. Because there’s no point in sinking we choose to swim.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Liberation or Captivity

CHOICES. We all have choices. An everyday choice that we all have for our mental health’s sake is whether we choose for liberation or captivity.
By our thinking, we come to be.
By our intentionality, we have our being, whether we allow ourselves to become captive to negative thinking or we choose to debunk what can only see us strewn.
Sustained mental health via the strength of resilience isn’t simply about saying the words, but it’s about thinking the actions out into reality.
We connect good thinking with energy that comes from belief that resists captivity. That compels us to act in faith. Acting in faith is done trusting that results will come, and they do always, eventually.
So, do we choose:
-         The tyranny of the blues or the triumph of life, for it is ours?
-         To give into exhaustion or to execute the wisdom of saying no to unreasonable demands?
-         To worry about the coming days after this one, or to stay in this moment of the coming hour?
-         To question others’ motives and their sedition, or to rearrange our thoughts in giving them the benefit of any doubt, which they very well deserve?
-         To stop making comparisons with others, and to start comparing with Jesus, alone?
-         To break the chains of a self-imposed oppression, or to allow the chains to bind ever tighter?
-         To delay important decisions until such a time we’re mentally composed, or to make choices we could otherwise sorely regret?
-         To spend our time with our loved ones, or to waste time on a pipedream that means we must neglect family?
-         The wondrous curiosity of joy, or the choice to extend sorrow?
By our choices we sink to depths we cannot rise from or we rise from depths we’ll never sink to again.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

The Purpose of ‘Unhealthy’ Emotions

Anger, sadness, jealousy, hurt. Four unhealthy, unproductive, unpalatable emotions. But also, catalysts for transformation.
Negative emotions are inevitable. No matter our temperament, we’re all faced with emotions we would prefer not to have.
They cause guilt and shame and compromise and pain and fear to emerge from within us. They bring unhappiness and anxiety into would-be happy, peace-lit lives.
What and where is their purpose?
Encouragement in Emotional Pain
First, pain is an encouragement, for God is in the pain. He is there with us as we experience it — His Presence beckons us to something better.
Pain is stimulus for reflection, which is a good springboard for change.
God has wired us to do something with pain. Pain, whether it ends in fear or guilt or shame, or a double or triple whammy of a combination of them, is not some nasty end point, but the beginning of an opportunity. Once we’re able to settle down enough to accept the presence of the pain, we’re then in pole position to explore it without judgment.
Pain is never to be judged, ridiculed, condemned or scorned. It’s an important indicator that things are not right so we can right them.
Loving Unhealthy Emotions into a Healing Encounter with God
Unhealthy emotions, accepted, we now have the perfect basis for moving on, from the very place of our imperfection. And pain is God’s chosen instigator. He knows we need to be stimulated — aroused from our spiritual slumber. Pain is His agent.
God loves it when we’ve sufficient humility to journey into reality. Having knocked at truth’s door, we verily find freedom awaits us inside, where lies can no longer reside.
The pain in unhealthy emotions can drive us through curiosity into a search for God’s truth. God never has anything bad for us, and we can be assured that enduring pain does bring healing.
The purpose of unhealthy emotions is the awakening of pain’s opportunity for healing.
Acknowledgement to Paula Constant, The Power of Enough, as inspiration for this article.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Understanding the Nature of Habit in Recovery

“Habit is habit, and not to be flung out of the window by anyone, but coaxed downstairs one step at a time.”
— Mark Twain (1835–1910)
The nature of habit is insidious and sticky. And although some habits adhere with unerring and unfortunate ease, we’re left with the same dilemma no matter the habit: how to get undogged.
Having recovered from chronic alcoholism (weekend binge-drinking) and cigarette smoking, and having dealt with numerous other recoveries, overeating one of them, I can speak in a way with which you will probably concur.
I tried numerous times to fling habits out the window. That is to overcome them, cold turkey, without a strategy, or with a strategy that was ill-fated. Almost every time I failed. Because I didn’t establish a solitary habit in countering a moment that always comes.
Something AA taught me was the importance of honesty. It’s on the turning away that we’re done in when on our attempt to recover. And there are moments when we’re tempted, where the decision to lapse comes through turning away.
We dissociate from ourselves in these moments, through a little lie believed, a pivotal denial, a dangerous compromise. Such a turning away renders the days, weeks, months, sometimes years, of hard work, vain.
The way recovery works is focus one day at a time, as Twain suggests, one step at a time. It’s not rocket science. But it is a commitment to not turning away, which is to stay truthful with ourselves, faithful to our cause.
Being honest, one day at a time, consistently and faithfully ever after, is the way to recover from every nasty habit.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Turning the Reins Over to God

If it were a song, the title Turning the Reins Over to God would need to be set to ‘play repeatedly’. None of us like relinquishing control. And especially when we have least control.
I can usually predict with the unerring accuracy of hindsight when turning the reins over to God will be required — when life’s been in one of those little easy patches. I get complacent and start to unconsciously believe that I have such a trusting faith, when, in all reality, there are many subtle things that knock me off course. Frustrating distractions, sometimes a close relationship I cannot control, too many competing priorities, too many things to do, not enough space to be, and, of course, spiritual attack.
Yet, God reminds us all through life that we don’t control it. Acceptance of that only comes through the action of surrender.
Which brings me to this:
Lord, get me past this paralysis,
Let me allow You take the reins,
Help me stop all this analysis,
That brings only myriad pains.
In a place in our minds and hearts where we’re shut in, we need to do something different to break out. Not get angrier, as if we had that sort of energy to waste. We have to find a way to surrender our control over a state of being out of control.
That’s an opportunity for today, and for any day we feel overwhelmed through causes from within us. We don’t have to wait around and continue to feel sorry for ourselves. We could do that, and God would allow it. But it serves no good. It prospers us nothing.
But if we turn the reins over to God, He will make our horse run like the night, when, for us, it’s been a stubborn mule.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

The Blessing In Loss for Having Responded Well In Grief

Given the situation of loss how can it be that we might be blessed? How can something so drastically dysfunctional turn out the best it possibly could, given the circumstances?
Before we experience loss, we may wonder how we might cope. It’s probably a subconscious thought.
The reality is there’s only one thing worse than loss. It’s the grief that has us responding the wrong way.
We could well be curious if we’ll pass life’s test of us. Kylie Jones, a wife whose husband Colin became Anne when he identified as a woman [story here], experienced that reality of wondering how she, when devastated, might respond:
“When it all happened, I discovered I was the person I hoped I would be, that I was supportive, that I was loving, and that I could help. I didn’t get angry. I tried to be the best support I could be, for Anne and my girls. And I think that’s all you can hope to do… be the best person you can be.”
Ms. Jones, in an untenable situation, having not only lost her husband, but reconciling a family situation where her three daughters needed her more than ever, had worked out the most important thing she could do — despite how she felt herself. She did get help. She didn’t deny what she was feeling. But she did have to put her own needs to the side in order to be there for her family — an inspirational and selfless (but still an imperfect) mother.
Ms. Jones’ grief was and is real. The following quote shows us something of the grief that resonates in all our stories, post-loss, a component of grief that we never quite adjust to:
“This is not the life I expected to have… I keep imagining what my life should have been.”
That’s how loss punctuates life. Grief in this way feels like the regret that is beyond any of our actions or responses. It feels like the loss have been done to us. But, still, when we’ve responded the best we possibly can, an abiding peace is the blessing we enjoy despite any pain we might endure.
***
The grace that responds well to the grief of loss gives us greater comfort than we think.
Our utmost prayer in facing life’s greatest challenge is to survive the test by struggling well in response. Nothing pleases God more, and He lets us know through the blessing we receive.
The reality regarding our godly response is God has given us to grace to respond that way. Sure, obedience is never easy, but without the wisdom of grace none of us would not respond well, ever.

Monday, January 23, 2017

How God Turns Loss Into Gain

“Mostly it is loss that teaches us about the worth of things.”
— Arthur Schopenhauer (1788–1860)
As we endure loss that rips life of its meaning and strips our being bare, we hope beyond hope that one day it could amount to something. That somehow loss might be worth the pain we endured.
If only there would be some recompense for the yardage we’ve put in.
At many early points, we cannot reconcile that we have to say goodbye to what was. But eventually we reach a place of acceptance, and somehow the pain of grief makes way for a reminiscent memorial that promises never to let go of the beauty imprinted immortally in the mind.
The heart is widened, broadened, and deepened simply because the heart had to grow to hold what life had become. Grief implodes our understanding. The heart adapted to what the mind, alone, was inharmonious about. The heart taught the rest of us how to survive, how to endure, and ultimately how to thrive. And, because we cannot explain just how God works in our heart, we know it is God who heals us there.
It’s all God’s wisdom operant through a surrendered individual, for we only get better through grief when we acknowledge it’s too big for us.
God turns our losses into gains, where the material temporary things lose their lustre, and spiritual things that are eternal take on priceless significance.
For the loss that cost us everything, we gain something that changes us completely for the good.
When finally we learn that the things of this world cannot be relied upon, we learn an immeasurable lesson. Only the things of God last. Our values are completely reordered. The truth prevails and finally we’re free. Nothing holds us in the way it did. Finally, we’re purposed as we were designed.
Somehow we learn to trust in faith that what was lost may soon be found in eternity. In such faith there’s peace.
There’s a hope for today, too. Having learned the truth the only way we can learn such a lesson, through loss, we recognise and now prefer the eternal things over the temporary things.
Loss is a catalyst for the receipt of a gift. God’s wisdom can only be learned at the depths.
Loss can prove to be the ending of ignorance, and the beginning of a curious journey in seeking God’s wisdom.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Your Depression as Proof of Your Being and Purpose

Love is Blindness by U2 is a song, for me at least, that proves a universal truth. Sad songs drip with truth. They speak to the spirit, opening the door to the soul.
Motion pictures piquing the emotions prove the mind was made to think, the heart evoked to feel. Somehow, we feel more alive when we’ve been taken on a journey.
Then there is that tyrant, Depression. I want to suggest a possibility to ponder.
Depression is a gate into a garden lush with shrubbery for pruning, which is impetus for being and purpose. Being gentle with ourselves, we clip each day the best we can.
I don’t believe there is any journey to being and purpose without conquest, and I believe there’s no conquest without challenge, involving trial, requiring endurance, punctuated by pain.
Pain’s opportunity is endurance,
the way through trial,
the only way to conquest.
Whether you’re depressed for a day or suffering from clinical depression, I pray you might be richly encouraged and convinced in your inner being. Your search for being has great purpose. Your pain has vast meaning. In your gleaning is gold, but the search is a testing one, as you well know.
Please, think about it this way:
Our world, C.G. Jung (1875–1961) would say, has forgotten the individual. Everything is about numbers and mass; organisations, programs, converts, return-on-investment — as if God designed greedy growth as the purpose of life. When we’re depressed we’re swallowed by the idea that we’re unimportant, insignificant, incapable. We believe the world’s lies.
Indigenous communities of the world knew their strength lay in dignifying the individual. These communities worked so well because they knew how much communing in unity relies on respecting the individual. They respected God’s creational norms, and they did so because they focused on cooperation, which elicits safety, and not on competition like today’s world does, which rips wellbeing apart. These indigenous values have all been as much as completely lost in this perverse age.
But don’t forget, God wrote the Book of Life, and He says your being and purpose matters as much as anyone else’s, ever — past, present or future. The truth is about to be revealed to you in eternity, but you don’t have to wait that long to discover it.
The world may have you believing your shreds of worth are insufficient for being and purpose, but that just isn’t true.
Your very passage through depression is poignant. Allow it not to kill you, but to refine you, as you reach feebly forward to God. Find His unconditional acceptance in your unconditional surrender; a profound sense of being and purpose for life.
To this manner of being, find your purpose centrally there. It’s there to be found by you.
The depth in your depression is proof of your search for being and purpose. When we believe such a search has a destination, we’re prepared to embark on that journey.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Forgiveness, the Barrier of Fear, and the Faith of Bravery

I discovered this basically by accident, by the way of learning something in a way we learn all great things we learn. We cannot forgive unless we feel for the perpetrator who acted against us. We cannot let them off unless we see in ourselves the same propensity to afflict that pain. As they have done, we also are capable. We must see that.
We need to see that we’re the same as everyone else, and that we’re angriest when we face the sins that most afflict ourselves.
Of course, these are difficult things to explain and to understand.
That which I cannot change about me, which I hate about myself most, angers me most about others, because I, myself, am thwarted.
I cannot forgive what I see is unforgiveable in me. And that, too, I often cannot see.
I cannot forgive what I cannot see God forgiving in me.
I will not allow safe passage to anyone or anything when that safe passage is forbidden for me.
I cannot lead others in a thing I previously have not learned.
“I” is the limitation. But God wants us connected, brought face-to-face, with these parts we despise. In connecting with others we must first come into connection with ourselves.
The Role of Empathy
Empathy is connection, illumination, revelation. It’s the lightbulb moment. Empathy is the electricity of compassion energising love. Empathy is a miracle, for without it everything of virtue in this unreachable place seemed out of grasp. Empathy grounded reason in a language the self could understand. Empathy is the “AHA” moment.
It is sad that empathy, however, is often so fleeting. We feel its connectivity like the brewing of a sneeze, and within seconds at times it’s gone. It explains why forgiveness, like happiness, can be so elusive.
Forgiveness in certain unreconciled situations is the hardest thing we’ll ever do. Some circumstances we’re so resistant to empathy we cannot look forward for the habit of looking back.
If we can only see the folly in our enemy is a folly we hate in ourselves. Yet, if we ask God to make it plain to our sight, He will reveal it if it’s there. We must ask God to connect us to these truths, and the way to such connection points is through empathy.
The blessed connection of empathy is the maturity of acceptance; the wisdom of understanding.
Fear as a Hidden Barrier to Forgiveness
And here’s a reason why forgiveness is worth the conquest:
Forgiveness sets us free from a past that causes us fear in the present.
Fear is softened by the warmth of love. Love is a brave frontier forged by faith. Faith is the key to a future forgiveness. Faith lets go, allowing forgiveness.
Fear is the only barrier to our destiny. Forgiveness compels us in bravery to keep moving forward by faith.
Even if we’re still some distance from that forgiveness we believe we may at some time have, we have hope, and in faith one day we’ll come to enjoy our achieving it, by God’s grace.
Grace that believes is also a grace that empowers, meeting a divine grace that appears by night, making the impossible a reality in the morning.
Such is our faith, by God’s mysterious provision, able to connect ground with the stars.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

The Courage to be Content and Discontent

God calls us to two great and divergent poles to access the abundant life: to be content and discontent at the same time.
Being Content
Abundance as a spiritual concept is an outcome we arrive at through being content with what we have. With all we’ve been given, possessions and experiences, we’re to be content. We count our blessings. Doing this means we have the courage to let go of our covetousness — those things and events we’ll never have, and are not supposed to have. To do that we’ll need to change some things in our lives, like say no to people, and drop unhealthy ambitions.
Being content, because it necessitates change to embrace surrender, requires courage.
Being Discontented
Abundance is also a journey, a destination we never reach. We have glimpses of our contentedness, and these are good and to be enjoyed, but we can’t get stuck there, because before too long contentedness becomes discontentedness. We can, however, enlist the courage to agree to remain discontented with where we’re at. It’s the only way we will continue to grow. It takes courage to refuse to settle.
Connecting Contentedness and Discontent
These two divergent poles of demeanour seem on the surface not to complement one another, but together they’re a perfect accompaniment, because they’re a balance.
Being content is important, but staying content means we must be discontent with where we’re at. Staying content will require us to break camp from our ideas that staying in our own safe bubble is even achievable, as it isn’t. Life is always changing, and we have to remain mobile, which is the wisdom of humility that assumes nothing.
***
Life is in being content
with what we have
whilst being discontent
with staying as we are.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

How Grief Can Be an Indispensable Life Experience

“Only people who are capable of loving strongly can also suffer great sorrow, but this same necessity of loving serves to counteract their grief and heals them.”
— Leo Tolstoy (1828–1910)
It is difficult, in the throes of acute loss, to reconcile how life that’s suddenly gone so bad could possibly end up so good again, but that is our hope. We may simply want things back as they were. For the pain to abate.
The experience of grief, which is a suffering we never imagined possible, makes us regret that we took for granted the ‘normal’ life. Our craving is to be back there.
In grief, we figure that we should hope for a return to a life of normalcy. Some days we cannot see our way there — it feels like the end of the road. Other days there are glimpses of healing and hope for not simply recovery but restoration. But, for an inordinate time, the doppelganger of anxiety and depression hangs like billows over us.
But afterwards, having traversed the murky elements, having lost vision of hope so many times, after we’ve felt recovered many times when we weren’t, we reach the conclusion that what broke our heart, love, was the key to the restoration of our heart. When we come to grief’s conclusion we understand more about ourselves, life, and God.
***
When grief casts us, outbound of loss,
Into a life consumed by chaotic dross,
We find God’s help becomes present from above,
Shown in us through faith so we’re returned to His love.
***
Grief forces us to confront truth, and, having been set free by what broke us, we become bigger, not smaller, persons.
Grief forces us to choose between faith and a combination of denial, anger, and bargaining.
Then we learn an indispensable lesson:
When faith is chosen in adversity, resilience becomes the path back to wellbeing.
In the final analysis, love’s heart that was once broken by loss is restored to love again by the heart compelled to love.