July 14, 2022 – The Grief Journey – “Different, Better, or More”

It has been over nine months since my grief journey began,

a very short journey when compared to a lifetime or the journeys of others; nine months is approximately 275 days, 6,600 hours, 396,000 minutes, 23,760,000 seconds. If the average heart rate is between 60-100 beats/minute, using 70 for the purpose of illustration, that is almost 28 million heartbeats during the last nine months. Maybe those numbers help to explain why it seems like such a long road, on a journey no one has ever asked for.

As I have reflected on the journey thus far, though it may seem long, in other ways it feels so very short. As I look back it is amazing all that has taken place since Shari’s death, in our family, in the world, and in my life. One of my favorite Bible verses is from Genesis 50:19-21, my paraphrase, Joseph tells his brothers that sold him into slavery, “what you meant for my harm God has used it for good.” It never ceases to amaze me how our God can bring about good in our lives despite the enemy's best attempts to cause harm.

David writes that the Lord is our Shepherd, and even though we must walk through the “valley of the shadow of death” we don’t need to fear, because He will be with us every step of the way.

It is refreshing to get to the place in the valley where you can see the mountains ahead towering over the trees, especially when you haven’t been able to see anything but this dark valley for so long.

Interesting thought to me, we must go through the valley to get out of it and to the mountain tops ahead. Who doesn’t love a scenic view from the mountain tops?

We were not meant to stay in the valley, just passing through. One of the many challenges of grief and the enemy of our soul is to keep us in that valley as long as possible. Because stuck in the valley we never reach the promised destiny God has for us. The valley may be a part of the journey, but it is not the destination. Somehow, we can become convinced that by leaving the valley we lose the memory of our loved ones, or if we make it out, we might forget them. That’s never going to happen. A friend was telling me recently of the message her father shared with her about the special place in his heart that would always belong to her mother, his late wife. It is so true; we can move forward with that love still in our hearts. You shouldn't feel guilty about it either.

Part of my journey thus far included working through “The Grief Recovery Method,” there are many excellent resources available, Grief-Share and others, that will help on the journey when we are willing to put in the work and effort to avoid getting stuck in the valley. In The Grief Recovery Method Handbook, authors John W. James and Russell Friedman share the concept that as we are walking through grief we often look back and see things we wish could have been “Different, Better or More.” No one on this grief journey asked for it, nor are happy to be on it. We look back and wish we could have had more time, different circumstances, or that things could have been done better. I'm not an exception, nor are you, but our reality is that we can’t go back and undo what has happened, we can only move forward through the valley to the mountain tops ahead where we will discover the destiny God has for us.

Blessings as we continue to walk together!

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