Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Facing Grief

You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. John 16:20

Have you ever attempted to remove a splinter from the hand of a child? You know how with most they start crying even before you touch it? When you do finally get close to the site, the pain makes them jerk back. It is truly the courageous child who willingly holds out their hand, facing the pain, but understands relief waits on the other side of the surrender.

That came to mind Sunday as my husband and I drove into Baltimore for the Walk/Rollathon Memorial event, in honor of our son, to raise money for the Adaptive Sports Program of Kennedy Krieger. It seemed the closer we got, the slower he drove. Both of us struggled with going to a favorite place of our son without him. Like a child wanting to avoid the pain of a splinter removal, we wanted to head the other direction. But we didn’t. We willingly surrendered trusting the joy that we’d know by the end of the day. We weren’t disappointed.

I felt that way the week before as well. Mother’s Day. We spent the day traveling back from vacation. I had dreaded the day. But God provided counsel that brought perspective. Help also came via the texts, calls, and emails as friends and family reached out in support. That night, I headed up to bed thankful I’d made it through the day without major tears or meltdown.

But then the phone rang. I heard the machine pick up… something about Peter’s best friend wanting to stop by. Again I felt like a child not wanting to face a painful moment. I didn’t want to answer the door. I didn’t want to cry.

But then, the doorbell rang and there stood Justin, all grown up it seemed, holding flowers and a card. It was so special to see him. It had been way too long. We chatted just briefly and he was gone. Once inside I let the tears fall as I placed the roses in a vase. Then I sobbed. Yes there was pain as I missed Peter so much, Andrew too. But there was also joy at being honored as a Mom and joy from having some part of Peter’s life back in my own-the presence of his best friend. I thanked God for the courage to answer the door.

Grief is a very hard friend. The pain and tenderness in your heart makes you want to retreat and not face things. It makes you want to run away and hide. But as I’m finding again and again, it’s when I embrace the grief, when I surrender to the pain, that I am able to move through it, and then beyond it to joy and relief on the other side.

Sometimes the joy is a new perspective. Sometimes, a new blessing. Sometimes, the relief is just knowing another first has been completed.

Friend, we all face grief every day. Sometimes it’s in the loss of someone we love. But we also face loss in other ways…a friendship dissolved, a job terminated, a new stage begins for a parent as the previous one is left behind… grief that comes through change. For each painful moment I pray you will turn to God for the courage and strength to surrender, embrace it, and move through it. Joy awaits on the other side, and God will hold you tight the entire way.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Juli ~

    What a beautiful post. You are so good at seeing the small miracles that happened throughout Peter's life. Sometimes it's hard to see the small miracles, when what you really wanted and hoped and prayed for is a big miracle. Thanks for the reminder!

    Love, Carol

    PS - As you know, I'm also a big fan of Dr. C!