Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Finding Balance

I can finally say I’m finding some balance in my life since returning to full time teaching. But the past two weeks, what I found God talking to me about wasn’t balance in how I spent my time, but balance in my thoughts.

As I approached Peter’s birthday, I found myself overcome with the missing. So much of life I think I can handle on my own. But what I know I can’t handle is the pain. It never leaves. At times it seems to suffocate. So I went into Peter’s birthday week with one simple prayer.

God, help me handle the pain. I can’t do this alone.

God answered with a picture of a chair. The chair of grief had four legs. Each leg stood for a different component with all four necessary to maintain balance.

God called the first leg joy. Yes, joy. He explained that one could find joy even in grief by reflecting on the wonderful moments and memories shared. When I think back over my moments with Peter and the richness God allowed into his life, I smile. I see Peter’s smile. Yes, there is joy.

The next leg called peace I also understood. In spite of the pain, deep within I had peace because I knew Peter too now lived in peace. With his time of suffering and struggle ended, he experiences what I cannot even fathom. Nothing on earth, no ecstasy or triumph, can even come close to the depth of joy and happiness that exists in heaven. I have peace because Peter has eternal peace.

Hope creates the third leg. Because of Jesus victory over the grave, because of Jesus’ payment for my debt of sin, because Peter accepted Jesus’ payment for his debt of sin, hope still reigns. Yes, the separation causes pain. But the separation is temporary. It’s only a matter of time until we are reunited again, this time for eternity.

The final leg for the chair was pain. That surprised me a bit as I expected everything to be “good.” But God explained the pain reflected the missing and loss. He challenged that it’s unhealthy to deny the loss. To invalidate the pain would invalidate the love. The great love we shared now broken creates the pain.

God explained that to stay balanced in my grief I had to accept support from every leg of the chair. If I focused solely on one aspect, my resting place would become unbalanced.

As God taught me this past spring, if I don’t acknowledge the pain, I’m neglecting a wound that must be tended to in order to heal. If I lock everything inside, the emotional turmoil will find a way to manifest, whether emotionally or physically or both. It will fester like an infection.

But just as it’s wrong to deny the pain, it’s also wrong to deny the joy we shared. It’s wrong to ignore Peter’s peace, or forget the eternal hope of our reunion. The pain stays less overwhelming when I focus on ALL the aspects equally.

The answer to my prayer was a lesson in balance.
A lesson in controlling my thoughts.

I still can’t handle the pain alone. But I’m not supposed to. I’m created to be intimately connected to a loving God who alone has the shoulders big enough for my every problem. As we walk together through my trials, he gently and patiently teaches me which provides strength in my weaknesses as well as growth and progress in preparation for whatever life throws at me next.

So that’s where I’m at today…. coming off of Peter’s birthday, facing the anniversary of Andrew’s passing, and heading into the first anniversary of Peter’s.

I’m sitting in my chair - trying not to rock.

No comments:

Post a Comment