I had a bit of a rough week last week.
The week before was wonderful. I took a trip to beautiful Colorado: a visit in the peaks and folds of the mountains among the golden aspens and gurgling, rushing streams; time with good friends; and more time with my amazing son. But as often happens, there is a letdown after such emotional highs. And this week has been no exception.
One thing that made coming home hard this time was the reminder of what is most important to me, and of some recent losses in my own life. Sometimes we think we’ve moved past those losses and we believe they can’t touch us anymore; then something happens and they are fresh all over again.
These events create battles in our mind and heart like none other. They resonate through our thoughts and feelings like a clanging cymbal, brash and annoying; unrelentingly harsh and unkind.
So how do we fight these battles, these gongs of noise and clutter, and return the tenor of our lives to one of normalcy, laced with joy and infused with strength?
For me, I have to unpack the circumstances that have created the noise just as I unpack my luggage. I pull out the details; sort them into piles; put them where they need to go. It takes a decent amount of discipline, determination, and effort, but it’s better than tripping over that erupting suitcase every time you walk into your bedroom. 😉
Wrong beliefs about God or myself are excess baggage and go right in the trashcan.
Disappointments go in the dirty clothes hamper; they need a good washing over with compassion and truth. (We can be compassionate with ourselves without moving into self-pity; we can accept the truth that we are disappointed but then move beyond to the truth that God is good and He has good things in store for us—if only we will walk in tandem with Him.)
Hard truths—as in, there are some things we can never go back to, and we must accept the consequences of choices that were made—are left out where I can see them. I need to embrace these truths and learn to walk in acceptance of them. Once I can do that, I put them away in a treasure box, for it is in accepting hard truths without bitterness or regret that I become stronger and more resilient.
And finally, losses are carefully and gently placed in a special place where they can be tended to, much like we would tend to a sick child or wounded animal. We don’t place them on a pedestal to be worshiped; but we keep them in sight so that we can apply appropriate treatments and comfort them while they heal.
Not too long ago my daughter had oral surgery to have her wisdom teeth removed. Once I got her home, I laid her on the sofa in the living room. I brought her pillow to her and a soft blanket. I tended to her daily, bringing her medications, ice packs, food and water, etc. I let her sleep when she needed to, and when it was time for her to get back on her feet I prodded her to do so. Sometimes we are so averse to pain it’s hard to get back on with the living of life; we want to keep taking the pain meds, which make us sleepy and sluggish. But at some point, those pain medications that were helping us rest and heal can actually work against us if we take them too long or rely on them too much. We have to embrace some pain as we encourage our body to move into a new and vital phase of recovery.
So it is with losses. There is a time to heal. There is a time to rest and recuperate. Then, when the time is right, we get up and get back to life—even if it still hurts.
What I’m talking about here is being gentle with ourselves, discerning what’s true and what’s not, and moving toward healing of hurts and losses—which means getting on with life even if it still hurts. It’s not an easy process, but it is one that strengthens us for the next time we face a loss or experience a hurt. Most importantly, we bathe it all in the truth and love and kindness of our God. He is with us, always, and He longs to be our go-to Person.
Whatever you’re facing today, realize bad days or weeks happen; there’s no shame in that. It’s how we handle those times that makes all the difference. Determine to unpack the sorrows, disappointments, hurts, and losses of your life thoughtfully, intentionally, and with tender care. And don’t be afraid to ask someone to tend to your wounds if you need them to; sometimes we need someone else to partner with us in our recovery process. Finally, bathe each part in the truth that God is for you and with you, and He loves you no matter what. Therein lies our hope and joy.
Here’s wishing you hope and joy today,
Copyright Mary Comm 2014. All rights reserved.