Grieving

Many are grieving. 

I think grief, sadness, disappointment, fear, uncertainty was looming long before corona but this global pandemic has intensified, exacerbated, accelerated and pushed to the surface all that was already brewing. Of course, this global pandemic has also added new areas of loss and grief. For some it's material or financial loss. Others have experienced a relational loss whether through death, separation, divorce or physically not being able to gather so you feel relationally disconnected and lonely. Many have loss dreams or the missed experience of significant milestones such as graduation, weddings, birthdays. I think it is fair to say while at differing degrees, we have all collectively experienced a loss of our routine, normalcy, rhythm. A loss of security, certainty and assurance. And at times perhaps a brief sense of loss in our feeling confident in our knowing, direction or being. What you thought was there is not really there. The people you thought would show up for you did not show up. There is real heartache and disappointment. We are grieving all of the change and the loss associated. 

For many, we can't really make plans or speak about the future because we just don't know. We are living day by day. Moment by moment. Friend, this is all real, valid and okay. Feeling this way does not make you a "bad" Christian or person. Your faith is not any less than the next person. It simply emphasizes the fact that we are human. We are living beings. While God is still in control and we put our confidence in him, that does not take away our humanness. And so we don't push aside our feelings and thoughts, nor do we feed them and nurture them. But it is important to acknowledge it, put language around what we are feeling and move through them. 

The reality is grief and loss takes time to process and we will still be grieving, mourning long after corona is contained, a vaccine is created and social distancing is no longer trending or the buzz word. We have all experienced losses. We are all grieving and mourning while still needing to show up, be there for those around us and fulfill our responsibilities. While cities and states begin to slowly reopen, traffic is ramping back up again, people are making plans and re-engaging with social activities, we are still hurting. We are still grieving. We put on a bold face and sincerely put our best foot forward, but there is an ache. 

We were grieving prior to corona. We grieved during corona. And there will be a new wave of grief post corona. Some are grieving the end of this sweet, unhurried time with their family. Some are grieving the loss of missed experiences, others not having the opportunity to have proper closure of one phase of life before they step into the next, like high school seniors or college graduates or those kindergartners. How do we give ourselves permission to process what we are experiencing and the loss while still moving forward and thinking towards the future? What does that space look like? 

I wish there was a formula or 5 step program. I am navigating these tensions myself. It feels like a dance to be honest. It feels almost like juggling. It feels like holding two worlds or tension in both hands. At times it feels mundane and robotic motions. At other times it's like when my kids play with play-doh or paint. It's messy! I like all the colors separate, unmixed, no hint of any red in the white or blue in the yellow. Each distinct color kept perfectly each distinct color! I cringe when my daughter joyfully mixes all of the colors. So how am I navigating loss, grief and disappointment during this time? Although messy at times and I fumble, stumble my way through, I make the daily choice to keep moving. Then let go and let God. 

Give it all to Jesus and allow it to happen. Don't try to control or manipulate it. Don't force or stifle it. Stay engaged and in relationship with God. Ask him moment by moment how to think, feel, what to do and how to do it. Abide in Jesus, sit in his daily presence. This definitely takes discipline and persistence - there is no autopilot or cruise control. It's hard work, but it works. There is no other better way. I remember and thank God for life before corona. I then allow myself to think and feel the loss and sadness as a result of corona. I process it. I don't rush it. Some days I feel like I'm good and it's all resolved - nicely packaged, wrapped with a bow. And then the next day the emotions and loss is triggered all over again. So I allow myself to process it again, perhaps there's a new dimension of grief that I need to engage. 

Regardless of how many times that grief returns or the waves, I always end with faith forward thinking - declaring the goodness and faithfulness of God. I am surrendered. Not making any plans or declarations other than what God's word says. I'm not putting any agenda on God other than expecting him to continue to be my Father, to take care of me and to be there for me. And trust in the end, something beautiful is being formed.

No way I have perfected this. But I choose to embrace and run into the unknown because the all knowing God runs with me and at times, he himself carries me through. I keep moving forward. There is more life to be lived. There are still dreams to be realized. New memories to be made. New joy. 

Beauty for ashes. There is purpose for this pain. There is clarity and character built from the chaos. There is triumph from these trials. Destiny in the face of despair and disappointment. God is still writing a beautiful story. 

A thief comes only to steal and to kill and to destroy. I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance. John 10:10 

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