SPFMay16

Season of Change

Seasons – such a great analogy for the pathways through life. Cassandra wrote about the current season she is in recently – that of FOMO and realizing that she IS just where she needs to be *for now*.

We happen to be in a season of loss.  Loneliness. Isolation. Grief can be a very complex place to travel – while you know the pain you are feeling, it’s not something that others can see. It’s hard to walk around with a broken heart, yet you are expected to interact sanely with other people. When all you want to do is cry or scream at every reminder that you are hurt and yet – SMILE. BE NICE. Pretend you don’t feel crazy right now.

Let me back-track a little…we are very blessed. Our lives are rich in blessings: healthy children, good health for us, the opportunity to pursue an educational path that works for our family, work that is fulfilling. We give thanks for our blessings every day.

So much of the work that I do outside of homeschooling our children is centered around pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding – the joyful welcoming and nourishment of new life, and helping families cope when there are complications that stem from pregnancy or the birth journey…yet it all goes back to LIFE and living.

This season of loss is completely new to our family. It started last fall when a mom at the dance studio passed away in a car accident…since then, several other losses of close friends, acquaintances, and my husband’s father two weeks ago. Five services or funerals in all. And now one more family member is in critical care – oh my heart.

As mush as I hurt, these are friends and acquaintances for the most part…I can only imagine what the families are going through as we are grieving with Bruss’s family. For those of you that pray, please keep all the families affected by these losses in your thoughts and prayers. Husbands are grieving wives, fathers and mothers are grieving their daughters, children are grieving their mothers and fathers…it takes my breath away to think of the pain people carry throughout their day.

While I am hurting, is not my heart that concerns me. I am an adult and I have coping strategies. What is really on my heart is my children – how do we nurture them and reassure them that while all this loss feels overwhelming right now, this is only a season??? Three of the people in those five: mothers. A couple of our sweet peas are having separation anxiety, there is definitely more patience required for all of them on a daily basis. Their questions and behavior indicate that they are starting to wonder if I am next on the list of mothers that is going to be moving on to the next journey. (note to self: call an art therapist: stat)

On top of all this emotional turmoil, we are going to be moving – so now the loss of their childhood home in preparation for a calling we have to be ready.

I wonder: why is our family being “forced” to learn about grief? What is the lesson? It feels like a sloughing off of all the material things that are not important.  Now we can **really** appreciate the things that matter: family, health, living a life with meaning and intention.

What are we holding on to? The promise of SPRING after the season of Winter. I know this is only a season; this, too, shall pass.  I wonder: is it also a preparation for “real life”? We have been in “summer” (abundance, comfort, security) for so long, it had to cycle…is this a call to be humble and walk with more humility? Is it helping us all recognize that it will continue to cycle as we grow and walk in the Lord? I don’t know…all I do is keep searching for the lesson in all that has been happening.

This story from the Bible is first and foremost on my mind: the one about the bridesmaids waiting for the bridegroom – five were ready with oil for their lamps, and five were not.  The parable of readiness is really resonating: we don’t want to miss an opportunity. In our particular case, we want to be ready to travel light if we feel the call to do so. Is that across the country, or living abroad? Only time will tell.

So we are holding on to that: Be Ready. We are now going through the process of sorting through every room so that we can pack light for the next season, whatever it may hold. We have all seen and can appreciate what is really important – having each other, and taking care of our health so that we can live for the purpose God is calling us to fulfill.

And so starts the healing process – learning to GIVE THANKS IN ALL CIRCUMSTANCES (1 Thessalonians 5:18). I was really sad and angry when I read that verse out-loud in our daily Bible reading two weeks ago. I lost it in front our sweet peas, and honestly told them that I wasn’t ready to give thanks yet.  Writing today, I can see that from that anger, I have grown to a point where I can write with some gratitude for this season.

What have you learned from grief? First of all, I am sorry for your loss. I feel your pain. I would be tremendously grateful for any light you can shed on this season.

May the peace of the Lord and the grace of God be with you today…I am certainly learning to lean on it more, and to take comfort from the fact that we are children of a Living God.