We were sitting around a large table at Spazzo's in Redmond for lunch on the day of our daughter Holly's graduation. We decided to give family advice around the table to the graduate. One thing I said to Holly was to "grieve it so you can leave it."
What I was trying to say is that amidst the excitement she was feeling that day, of finally being done with what seemed like a forever part of her life, she needed to take the time to feel the sadness. The fact is that this chapter would now close and she would never again be at this place; she would need to lay the temporal gift of being a high schooler down.
I was really speaking this advice to myself. So far I have not been very good at grieving life changes. I have a pattern of just moving on and getting busy and not allowing myself to mourn the loss. It seems to be the more efficient and practical way to deal with losses, but it does catch up to me eventually.
You know if we don’t mourn the losses of God's more temporal gifts, the things we can’t hold onto (i.e. our youth, children in the home, fleeting experiences, etc.), then we can become extremely demanding of others to meet our needs or we can move towards futile fantasizing of our pasts that didn't really exist. I think it is so easy to try to run away from the uncomfortable feeling of these losses and try to fill up our lives with activities in hope we won’t notice them so much.
The thing that I am beginning to learn is that I need to grieve the "deaths" so that I can embrace the "resurrections," the new life that Christ has for me in the new season of life. If I don’t grieve the death of the past...that I will never be a young newlywed again, or a father of young children again or doing the type of work I used to do with young fathers as a young father myself, then I am unable to be fully alive to the present and the future of the wonderful things God has in store.
These times of major life transitions are opportunities to draw close to God in our pain and be reminded that we are not "home" yet, that the longing to be together forever with loved ones will one day be fulfilled – but not in this life.
This life is a JOURNEY for us as parents and for our children whom we know need to leave in order for their individual destinies to be fulfilled. These are short and fleeting earthly lives we have been given. A road will always be a disappointing place...actually, a really lousy place to make a home.
"If I truly believe the past is totally forgiven, the present is supplied with power, and the future is bright with hope, how can I be anything but completely happy?"- James Smetham
Because I belong to the Eternal Gift-Giver I resolve in His strength to be forever grateful to Him and remember to be...
Holding His Temporal Gifts With An Open Hand,
P.S. Read Jeremy's latest blog and Join Jeremy's Journey through prayer, pledging or donating by going to payitforwardsa.org
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