Lately, the days have been hard. I won’t go into much, because, hey… we’ve all got issues going on, right? Mine are no more challenging than yours, but in the midst of some other challenges, I lost my mother unexpectedly a month ago. Not. Good.
Now, as I go through the business of my day, the thought hits me and I remember… “Oh, yes, my mom is gone.” Or I think, “I need to call and check on mom.” Ugh. It takes the wind right out of my sails when it happens.
I’ve had a lot of people encourage me to embrace the grieving process. I’m not a fan. I know from nursing school that there is an accepted formula for the stages of grief. I get it. I understand that the feelings I am having are normal. I understand that it is my brain’s way of graduating me to my new normal… the one where my mom is gone. It would be completely socially acceptable for me to be in denial, or to be sad, or angry or all of the above.
Back 22 years ago, when Matthew and I lost our baby son, many people encouraged us to join a support group where we could process our grief. I know that support groups help lots of people, but we just didn’t see the use in going to a weekly meeting that would remind us that we lost our child. But that’s what we do in our society. We group together and talk about our woes.
I’m not interested in socially acceptable.
We get knocked down. In this life, we suffer loss, failure, betrayal, illness and more. No one is exempt.
Aren’t you glad you chose to read this blog today?
We can choose to go the socially acceptable route and process our losses like the scientists tell us that it should go, or we can just get back up.
Take Joshua, in Joshua Chapter Seven of the Old Testament, for example. Because of the shortcoming of one man, Achan, Israel found itself once again losing in battle to its enemy. Talk about a failure. People died! After the tail whipping they got, Joshua and his followers ripped their perfectly good tunics, fell on their faces, and wallowed in their loss.
That is until God told them to cut it out.
God actually said, “Get up. Why are you down on your faces like that?” Joshua 7:10.
God then went on to tell them why they had landed in the spot they were in, and what they needed to do to fix it and move on. He didn’t tell them to continue meeting that way, in a group there on the floor, crying and wailing over their losses and failures.
To tell you the truth, I could join Joshua’s pity party at any moment of the day right now. The hurt is still so raw and real to me. There have been times over the last few weeks that I have felt guilt over moments of laughing or enjoying myself… it just didn’t seem right to me. Crying. Crying seems right.
I don’t like where I am. I much prefer joy and happiness. Yes, I have suffered a great loss, but there are things that I still need to do, a purpose I still have to fulfill. And I don’t think all this sadness and disappointment does much to honor my mom, fix the other issues in my life, or show gratitude for the life I do have.
Besides, followers of God have always been getting up people.
When I think of the person I want to be, I can’t help but think of the old school push puppets. Remember those? When you pushed with your thumbs on the base of the toy, the puppet would collapse. But when you’d let go, the puppet would spring back to life just like before. I loved those. I was easily entertained.
Yes. We get knocked down. But we don’t have to stay down. I either trust God in my failure, loss or disappointment, or I don’t. I trust that, in some way, my trial is a part of a grander plan, a plan for which I can only see pieces and parts. A plan that is for my good. If that’s the case, then I trust Him even when things don’t go the way I wanted them to go.
If I really trust Him, I don’t let things keep me on the floor sobbing next to my pal, Joshua.
I get back up.