Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Mourning with Joy (Celebrating Life through Seasons of Loss)

Learning from Loss - The past week has been a roller-coaster of emotions, spanning the life cycles from beginning to end. It has placed things into a new perspective for me, hitting close to home and also making me more aware of the cycles of life in the grand scheme of things. Earlier in the week, my good friend gave birth to a miracle baby who is beating the odds and discovering the world for the first time. Later this week, another good friend is marrying the man she has been waiting for, who God brought into her life at the perfect time, to show his glory through their relationship. I celebrate with them in the same week that I mourn personal loss. My heart is feeling very raw. Within the last few days I have experienced the loss of my dearly loved great-grandaddy. During the funeral and burial, I cried a bucket of tears and used who knows how many tissues and shirt sleeves. I was flooded with emotions of sadness and also shed happy tears, remembering all the good times and fun memories we had together. The death of a loved one reminds us how precious life is, and makes us cherish the moments we have.

Life is full of moments. You don't always realize it when you're in the situation, but you can look back on particular moments that changed your course, influenced your choices, made you who you are. Each of us has a unique outlook on life, built by our experiences and point of view. It amazes me to think about how two people can look at the same painting and draw completely different conclusions to it's meaning. Life is like a painting that we view through colored lenses, from different angles. I remind myself that others don't think the same way I do, so I need to be intentional in explaining my point of view in a way that makes sense to someone walking in another pair of shoes.

It's the little things. A smile, a touch, a card, a phone call... It doesn't take much to let someone know that you care. Sometimes we think we have to go over the top to show someone that they are loved, when really they just want to know that you're there. Everyone needs to know that they are not alone, and that they don't have to go through life's challenges on their own. In small acts of kindness and subtle affirmations, we can love with our actions when our words fail. It has been a long time since I've lost someone in my family. Since Grandaddy's passing, there have been many friends who have called, sent messages, hugged me in the grocery store or parking lot, who want to know if there is anything they can do. After hearing that phrase over and over, I felt it was an odd thing to say, since I couldn't think of anything specific that people could help with. What they were trying to convey, however, was that they were there for my family. I'm so thankful for everyone who attended the funeral, and those who shared special memories they had of my Grandaddy. I'm thankful for those friends and strangers who handed me tissues when I was too optimistic about how many I needed. Just knowing that there were people who understood and cared, meant so much. Being fully present is a gift in itself. Don't underestimate the value of simply being. If you were one of those people and are reading this...

Thank you, so much.

"Where words fail, music speaks..."

In Loving Memory of Bill Edlin - Click to hear him sing - "Treasures that Money Can't Buy"

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