Growth Through Grief

[lead]Outside my window, a tree is blooming.[/lead] From my perspective, the flowers appear suddenly, but the process began during dark, cold days when the tree looked dead. Programmed to respond to an almost imperceptible increase in daylight, the tree’s “on” switch was flipped before change was visible.

The same thing happens to us when we respond to light during periods of darkness, suffering, and grief.

Enduring the Winter

My husband was diagnosed with cancer in 2011 and died a year later. After 34 years together, my fellow traveler finished his race triumphantly and exited the course, leaving me to run alone.

Actually, I did not so much run as stagger. When I lost the relationship, I also lost my rhythm.

Suddenly, life was out of sync. “Normal life” was obliterated.

Suddenly, life was out of sync. “Normal life” was obliterated. There was no point in searching for a way around sadness; I was stuck with it. A well-meaning friend gave me a book on grief’s stages that was of no benefit. I already knew the labels. Telling someone her leg is broken without helping her repair it is not much help. But I didn’t blame her; I knew there would be no quick fix for what was broken—no resuscitation of, or replacement for, the excised earthly relationship.

The only hope I had was to cultivate an even deeper relationship—a relationship with the Giver of life and light.

How Will We Respond?

You can know God as Creator and Savior without knowing Him as Friend, but, astonishingly, He invites us to this kind of relationship (John 15:15).

However, friendship is a serious thing. It requires trust and expenditure of energy. It also takes time to get to know someone—especially when that someone is infinite. Intimacy with God does not happen overnight.

When I consider it, I am amazed that God condescended to engage in a friendship with me that I initiated because I was lonely and desperate. After all, who wants to be the consolation prize? I only know this: God offers friendship to those who want it enough to pursue it. So, the critical question is, “What do you seek?” (John 1:38).

In grief, we can either choose to remain dormant, or we can choose to grow.

In grief, we can either choose to remain dormant, or we can choose to grow. But if we want to grow in the cold and dark of winter, it is essential that we, like that tree, respond to the Light.

Guest post by Deb Shehane. Read more at her blog, Fort Shehane Chronicles

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Growth Through Grief