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Posts Tagged ‘sadness’

It’s not even a word – but it so accurately describes my life. I have a lot of unexpectedlies – every day. And so do you. At first, I was blindsided by happenings in my life that I never planned for. Death. Accidents. Job loss. Broken relationships. All these and more kept me off balance, sometimes teetering on the edge of grief and despair. I felt more fear than faith – dreading the next bend in the road.

One weekend TrailI had an epiphany. I came to realize, with the wooing of the Holy Spirit, that these unexpectedlies are opportunities. Opportunities to find blessing in the midst of sadness. Joy in the midst of sorrow. Healing in the midst of pain. Instead of finding the gray on the backside of every cloud, I really do attempt to find the silver lining.

This past month, three close friends have passed away. One was my beautiful daughter-in-law’s father. He was a huge influence in my life, in the lives of my friends and family. Another was a man who helped me navigate the stress of my first radio job, moving from co-worker to great friend. He and his lovely wife gave me support in the hardest time of my life and for that, I will be forever grateful. Just this past Tuesday, another friend entered in the presence of Jesus. We’d only known each other three years but we became the best of buddies, joined together through our love of the Chicago Cubs and our little church family.

Each man was an unexpectedly in my life – unexpected voices of encouragement and affirmation, sometimes challenging, always loving and supportive. I am a blessed woman to have known these three and I am so grateful I was able to run part of my life’s race alongside them.

Takeaway – celebrate the unexpectedlies. Look for the blessing in each one. Grow through the experience. Choose to respond to each one with grace and forgiveness. Love fiercely because unexpectedlies happen…every day.

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sorrow_longing_tears______by_Westia

(Note: A year ago I wrote the following article and it received the most views of any blog I had ever written, including any since then. Because it’s Black Saturday – that day of sorrow between Good Friday and Easter – and because recently so many friends are going through this grief journey, I’m reposting.)

I’m on my next to last “blogging through the 40-days of Lent” adventure. Today’s topic is hard. A lot of the other blog posts have had some difficulty, but this one today – giving up sorrow – is tougher than most. Because how can I presume to tell you how to grieve or when to stop. So I won’t. But I will encourage you not to allow sorrow to overwhelm you (forever). To choose to step outside your sadness for a few minutes each day…until you can look and see the deep grief is behind you.

I have a dear friend who lost the love of her life last summer. He had been ill and yet the suddenness of his passing was a shock to all of us. He was a wonderful man, loved and respected by so many…a great husband, father and grandfather as well as a supportive and generous friend to me and my family. The grief has been overwhelming for his wife, children and grandchildren. But each one has taken the baby steps necessary to continue to live their lives and honor the memory of this dear man.

My friend shared some of her grieving process with me. Losing a husband is different than losing a parent. The “oneness” feels broken. The grief includes anger, fear, sadness, loneliness, feelings of loss and even rejection. People’s attempts to comfort her often left her emptier, not encouraged; sadder, not exhorted. “You’ll always have your memories” turned into a trite phrase because it’s the remembering that hurts the most.

So, for those of you who are “walking through the shadow of death,” please know that “life sucks sometimes.” (Thank you, Ben Rector, for those poignant and truthful words.) We must keep going – we have responsibilities, we have people who count on us, we have a Father God who loves us unconditionally, even when the grief is so deep that you can’t get dressed or face another human being.

Try to get one thing done….mark one thing off your “to-do” list. Put sorrow away for a couple of minutes and face your day. Do a little more each day, or week, or month…than you did before. Meet someone for coffee. Write a few “thank you” notes. Bake a cake and take it to someone. Watch an episode of your favorite comedy and give yourself permission to laugh a little. Call someone you haven’t seen for a while. Read a new novel. Take a walk. Buy a new pair of shoes. Indulge in a rich, chocolatey dessert. Take a friend to a movie. Pray for someone else who’s facing a similar situation.

Jesus was a man of many sorrows, according to the prophet Isaiah. He knew suffering and grief. He knows your pain and sorrow. Lean into His grace today. He’s more than enough.

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Nose

I have a cold. It isn’t horrible but my nose is either running or stopped up. It takes quite a strong aroma to break that barrier. Like Vicks Vapo-Rub – remember that stuff? Every time I smell it, I’m taken back to my childhood…when my mom would spread that goopy gel over my chest and on the bottoms of my feet. I don’t know if it helped, but the aroma was pervasive and brings back all those feelings of love and comfort from my mom’s nurturing care.

That’s the great thing about our sense of smell – the trigger of good memories whenever certain aromas hit our nose. I love the smell of freshly-roasted coffee beans and freshly-brewed coffee (taste too!). There’s nothing like the smell of warm cinnamon rolls, baking bread, peppermint ice cream, fresh cut wood, pungent orange peels, fresh cut grass, newly-turned earth, incoming spring rains, strawberry shampoo, freshly-bathed babies, and a first time you crack open a new book. This list is only a few of my favorite smells. Each one brings up a bucketful of great memories and good feelings.

For instance, every time I smell pine I’m reminded of a family vacation we took when I was 16. There were five of us, headed to Arkansas, in a pick up truck with a topper and no air conditioning. We had put an old mattress in the back so we could take turns sleeping, sitting or driving. My mom and I were driving through the night with the windows open, along the highway lined with majestic fir trees. The bracing aroma of pine filled the truck cab. I don’t remember our conversation but the smell of pine still gives me poignant memories of a happy time in my childhood.

Do you have similar smells that trigger memories? Sure, sometimes smells remind us of sad times too, but as the movie “Inside Out” illustrates, sadness isn’t bad…it’s an emotion we need to feel and embrace as much as joy or anger.

It’s kind of cool that we, as children of God, are to Him the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing…the fragrance of life to one group, the smell of death to the other. Through us, He spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of Him. So we are the trigger of the Holy Spirit in the lives of others. Hope you smell good!

Take a deep breath! Learn to use all your senses to unleash feel good moments. Even better – start making aromatic memories for the future. If you need it, they still sell Vicks Vapo-Rub.

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