Part One: Sit With It
There is absolutely nothing about living through grief that is enjoyable. Living in grief feels like trudging through molasses, everything feels heavy and life moves in slow motion. I’m no stranger to living through events with unknown details, constantly reshuffled plans and what feels like a roulette of outcomes. Maybe you’ve been there before too? Nothing is familiar. It’s maddening, isn’t it? What was once a sense of security now feels like a ghost haunting you about what may never be again. The rollercoaster of emotions can feel much like a boxing match, absorbing blow after blow until you start to become unconscious to it all.
I fought my grief for a long time. I still struggle to sit with it, if I’m being honest. Turns out losing your husband at age 33 brings a fair share of unimaginable emotions. The last thing I want to do is sit with that but some days that’s exactly what I need to do. I’m learning that slowing down, taking time to rest and check in with myself does not make me weak, it makes me vulnerable. It makes me whole. It makes me real. It makes me human.
Grief colors outside the lines but I wish it wouldn’t. I prefer things that are neat and tidy and fit in pretty little boxes with pretty little bows. Perhaps you can relate? I like my grief where I can see it. But that’s not how grief works. You can outrun your emotions temporarily but they’ll only come back with a vengeance. You can hide in social media scrolling, late night binge eating and glasses of red wine but you’ll only end up with more problems to address. Like most things in life, there’s a process to grief. You can resist it all you want (believe me, I’ve tried) but you’ll get no where. The only way out of it is through it.
Our world is in a state of grieving right now. School, work and church are happening online, at home. Social calendars have been cleared. Jobs in jeopardy, relationships strained, finances stretched. Our routines and schedules have been stripped and nothing feels familiar. We feel the weight of it all, don’t we? It’s hard. Really, really hard.
I’m the farthest from an expert on grief, but I have been in the ring with it. From the little that I know and all that I’ve done wrong, I want my mistakes to be a lesson to you. I want to encourage you as best I can in this season.
We’ve all been gifted time in this season of grieving. In most cases, the world doesn’t slow down when our life comes undone. But right now we have the unique luxury of time to sit with our ‘stuff’ and make nice with it. I know it won’t feel friendly at first, in fact quite the opposite. Silence speaks loudly and usually involves tear soaked cheeks. But my friend, that is the way through.
You can only experience something to the level that you’ve experienced yourself. That means if we want a life full of depth and rich with adventure, we have to dig in and do hard things. We have to heal the tender spaces and hold the broken pieces. I rarely had words as I sat within my grief, but God always met me there and saw me through. Even if it doesn’t feel like it, trust that God is in it with you and waiting for you on the other side of it. He will see you through. The work is hard but you’re never, ever alone in it.
Above all, give yourself grace. This is new to us all. Living through a global pandemic comes with a steep and ever changing learning curve and requires no expectations, lots of patience and a replenishing supply of grace.
What emotions are under the surface that you’ve been avoiding? What are you afraid to face? What is this time asking you to sit with and tend to? Give yourself the reward of meeting yourself fully and taking care of what needs mending. Let’s courageously sit with full heads and broken hearts now, in order to come through with clear heads and full hearts on the other side of this. Be brave, friends. Get back up. We’ve got more rounds in us. We can do hard things.