Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Reconciling the ugly reality of grief

Photo by Milan Popovic on Unsplash

Here’s an honest albeit politically incorrect thought, with my sincere apologies in advance.
There are times when I feel this so intensely, though I don’t always feel it so acutely, but I do always feel it to some extent. Here is my thought:
I’m sorry,
but I cannot easily celebrate
your new baby or Grand-baby with you.
Your joy reminds me too much of what we lost.
You may not understand. You may call me selfish if you like, ‘still-in-need-of-healing’, or inconsiderate, even envious. You would be right. It would appear that way. You may think all sorts of other things about me for having shared my thought. You wouldn’t be wrong.
This is why my thought is politically incorrect. Our social media world is alight with wonderful stories of births, weddings, anniversaries, birthdays, graduations, come-from-behind hero stories, new discoveries, miraculous recoveries, brave plans, and other fantastic achievements.
Rarely is it awash with painful stories, yet there are so many posts about healing and the courage it takes to heal. In other words, stories etched in pain yet redeemed with a happy, inspirational ending, or the courage shown to endure (in other words, inspiring).
People (especially Christians) don’t want mopey stories. Yet, half the world (literally) regales in that exact state, so many in a constant need of escape, never realising that facing the state is the only escape. Not under or over or around, but through. It’s the only way, yet only one in one hundred embarks upon the journey.
When I say I cannot celebrate with you, I do attempt to, and I may even ‘love’ your news, but there’s a part inside me that faces the equally-opposite truth — we lost our precious baby, and though I still have four other children, they can’t make up for the one we lost. Sorry. It’s our experience. It’s our reality, and it’s the reality of any and all (okay… most) who have borne loss.
I know literally hundreds who have lost children, partners, parents, marriages, careers, dreams. Every single one of these losses is a tragedy. It’s a state of being that never shifts and never changes and can never be truly reconciled if it can’t be restored. There’s a gap you must get used to. When others celebrate what you can never have it leaves a bitter taste in your mouth. And it’s understandable.
We’re not ‘bad’ to not feel good for another,
though we do have the choice to love anyway.
We can overcome the way we think, but the way we feel is sacrosanct and it’s not to be judged.
Indeed, it’s only as we face what we feel honestly, without judging ourselves, which is shame, that we may hear God say, “I feel you, I love you, and I give you the power to overcome the paralysis preventing you from rejoicing with those who are rejoicing.”
God knows what we’re feeling. He designed us this way. To love is to experience loss, and to experience loss is the testament to our love. From love there can be no other way of response.
So, in the manner of debunking our shame, because we accept others celebrating can mean we reexperience our grief, we feel met by God, and therefore the grace of a loving response is given to us.
It is such a blessing to be honest. God never blesses anyone more than the honest person.
Honesty overcomes the fear of what others think of us, and with courageous vulnerability, lives life as the dress rehearsal for meeting Jesus one day, where all secret things will no longer be hidden.
Blessed are those who live in a way that accepts that there are no secret things.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

An Acrostic of Virtues for Contemplation

Authenticity is another word for integrity, for what someone is they do.
Benevolence is an instinct that never second guesses acts of goodness.
Compassion is the ability to suffer for good.
Diligence is rare in any age because it’s disciplined against the comfort humanity strives for.
Empathy is faked by a narcissist, but their true colours shine eventually. The true empath cannot help but care more than they should. Better the latter than the former.
Fortitude is the cornerstone behind a life stepping forward and lingering fully in the moment.
Gratitude is the grace that takes nothing for granted.
Honesty is the enjoiner of wisdom and virtue, from which everything good swings.
Integrity, as a moral good, is the essence of virtue.
Justice is but love that breeds balance in relationships.
Kindness is a verb that can be seen, heard, felt, touched, even tasted. It’s the noun of the blessed.
Love is a sentence, a page, a book, a volume, a library of the abundant life, and never more exactly a word.
Maturity is not merely the acceptance of what cannot be changed, but also the embracing of what can only be best accepted.
Nobility is the royal feature of person that calls everyone around you to genuine greatness.
Obedience is the virtue of humility that pleasantly falls under authority.
Prudence is the delicious sentiment of generosity toward others and frugality toward self.
Quality is the dimension of taste that waits with faith upon the weighing of all things.
Rectitude is the high office of respectful reliability.
Sensitivity is the corollary of poise and care, brave enough to be mocked and yet remain vulnerable.
Trustworthiness is the eminence of God in human skin.
Understanding is discernment inscrutable to the masses, a spiritual gift that can only be nurtured.
Vitality is a gift that can only be given by the vitalised.
Wisdom is an all-encompassing necessity for common life, and everything benefits from wisdom.
Yieldedness is something that aids all manner of healing.
Zeal is the feature behind every bold success and failure.