Shattered

Have you ever had a rock or a baseball come flying through a window? The thwack of the initial impact is overwhelmed by the chaotic chime of glass hitting floor. The only thing left in the wake is a halo of jagged shards jutting out at odd angles from the frame. Splinters of glass everywhere. It’s a mess. 

When it comes to cleaning up the mess, we tend toward one of two approaches. Some bust out the rest of the glass and sweep it all up in one fell swoop. Others slap a piece of old cardboard and masking tape over the mess until the repairman can get there to replace the pane. We tend take similar approaches to our own brokenness.

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Grief School: Lesson #4 Today, We Remember, Pt. 2

Yesterday was 9/11 – a day when as a nation we stopped and remembered the events of that date back in 2001. Our social media feeds were filled with pictures, videos, and somber graphics. We shared the names of those individuals who lost their lives in the attacks.

Dare I say – our national grief was on full display. Even eighteen years later, we still grieve that loss. We honored that grief by remembering those touched by the events (basically all of us) – especially the heroes and their families who suffered the most on that fateful day.

Yesterday as I prepared a memorial post for this site, I was reminded of a concern that so many grieving individuals face – but particularly those who’ve lost a child – and that is sharing memories of their children.

Bereaved parents recount experiences of sharing a memory on FaceBook or Instagram of their children only to receive negative feedback. They receive comments along the lines of “It’s been three years already. Isn’t it time to move on?”

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Grief School: Lesson #3

Welcome back to Grief School! School is back in session. How do we know summer is over and it’s time for a new school year? Our “news feeds” are blowing up with first-day-of-school pictures! If you live in one of those areas that extends the summer past Labor Day (ahhh, the good old days), don’t worry. It’s coming.

History was never my strong suit in school, but let’s start with a history lesson. About four years ago, Angie Cartwright, started petition through Change.org to have August 30th declared “National Grief Awareness Day.” Change they say is slow and the movement to bring an awareness of grief to the forefront of the societal conversation is certainly no exception. We may not yet have an “official” day of awareness, but how can we not be aware of grief on a daily basis? Grief is the continuous backbeat that pulses through our day-to-day existence.

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That’s All You’ve Got?

Imagine – it’s your birthday. You’ve been wanting a certain something. You’ve dropped all of the perfect hints for the last six months. There is no doubt about what you really want.

The box is set before you. It is the exact size. It doesn’t weigh too much or too little. It shakes just right. You just know that all of the thinly-veiled hints have hit the mark.

Your own cleverness doesn’t even spoil your excitement because you really want this gift. In fact, your cleverness of having figured it out just fuels your eagerness to tear through the wrapping.

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Everyone Take Your Seats

Here we are at the beginning of a new school year. How do I know? Well, my social media feeds are filled with “first day of school” pics. Some are of little ones headed off to school for the first time. Others are of “when-did-they-get-so-big” ones headed off to their freshman year of college. 

Either way (and for all of those in between) – they are facing situations fraught with anxiety and anticipation. Concerning questions and joyful expectations collide in a cloud of confusion –

What is it going to be like away from mom? home? family? friends?

What is the new place going to be like?

Will there be room for me?

Will I be welcomed?

When will I see mom – home, family, friends – again?

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Store in a Cool, Dark Place

Have you ever trusted someone and been betrayed? Then you get past the hurt and place your trust with them again and they betray you all over again? Pretty soon, if that happens too many times, we draw certain conclusions about that person’s character. At some point, we lose our trust in them all together. We stop placing our faith in them.

Sometimes, we do something similar in our relationship with God. We pray to God for something. He doesn’t answer our prayers the way we’d like. 

We pull back a little trust.

We question His character.

We lose a little faith.

Prayers continue. We don’t like the answers. Pretty soon, we start feeling like all is lost.

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That Kind of Tired

You don’t need a medical degree to figure out that the stress from life’s events wreaks havoc on the physical body. Emotional stress tears our bodies apart from the inside out. Our mouths get dry. We can’t breathe. Our hearts, heads, and stomachs ache. We’re tired but we can’t sleep. Even if we did, we’re not that kind of tired.

You also don’t need a degree in theology to figure out that extreme stress can wreak havoc on the spiritual body. Sadness, grief, and sorrow are heavy. Sometimes, our souls simply cannot bear the weight. We are not that kind of strong.

That heaviness seeps down deep into our bodies. Deep – down into the very marrow of our bones. Deeper – down into the core of our cells. Even deeper – down into our very DNA. 

Sometimes this heaviness is not apparent to the outside world. Other times, it can’t be hidden. Whether others can see it or not – it drags us down. It makes us tired – but not the kind of tired than can be fixed with a nap or a jog around the block. It’s not that kind of tired. 

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