I think we have the concept of funerals wrong. The first three letters of “funeral” is “fun” and there is generally not much fun in them at all, in my humble opinion. I am of the opinion that if a person has lived a Godly life and accepted Jesus as their personal Savior, funerals should be fun, more like a party because that person is in heaven now. The sadness we feel at their loss is our business but a funeral should be a celebration that the deceased has finished life and is now in glory in heaven, a fabulous thing for them. But that is just my opinion.
Seasons of life will change, that is inevitable. How they change can not be predicted. And it does not seem to matter what you are feeling at the moment, you can be plummetted into humility at a moment’s notice. You can stand on the peak of the mountain in Yosemite National Park, having climbed Moon face rock and stand triumphantly and feel like the strongest person and hike down and back up the Grand Canyon, that enormous chasm that makes giants fleas, and feel like you have accomplished much and feel strong. You can watch the one you love leaving your world and all of a sudden all your strength, all your drive to succeed and accomplish is vanquished just that fast and humility sets in and you realize just how tiny and fragile you are. You see yourself as an insignificant, lonely, fragile little unimportant thing in the scheme of things. You wonder at how we are made to believe we are something important one moment and feel like the lowest lifeform on the planet the next. This is the thinking that is the culmination of focusing too much on self. You have to feel it, yes, but we need to let that pain be treated by God, the Great Physician, the only One who knows our importance for He made us. No one else in the world may appreciate the working of the heart of you. No one else may see your significance or inner strength, even when you cannot see it yourself. I mean who without God can watch the most important man in your life fading from your life? Who can do that and survive without God to help you? Who can survive the realization that you are powerless to hold onto the man you love in your life if he is called away? No one. I can’t. The only help is God, who knows that damaged or not, I am still His princess. He has to hold my heart when arms are not forthcoming. God does this. Who else can? Who else wants to? Nobody quite often. But God is everywhere. He sees the specialness of you. He sees the brokenness and loves it better. That is it.
Personality plays an enormous role in whether it is easy or difficult to make decisions. However, there are some tried and true ways to become a little more decisive. I want to share these because I happen to be of a personality type that finds it rather easy to make decisions. Why? It is how God made me. I have many friends who find it difficult. Here is what I know. Before making a decision about something major in your life (or even a minor thing if you wish), always pray. Prayer opens your heart to be humble and admit you need God’s help. This is the attitude you need to start the process. Prayer works. You can get alone for a while and pray, play music and pray, pray on the fly in the middle of a crowd. The beauty of prayer is that it can happen anywhere, the more secret the better. Secondly, after praying, you make a list of pros and cons, why one answer would be great and why the same answer would be horrible. In what ways? And this is not a list where the majority wins because the most meaningful is the winner. If there is one pro and fifteen cons, that pro can still overpower. So, this is a list with priorities based on your moral standards and the importance of that benefit in your life. Thirdly, pray again. I tell ya, it never ever hurts. Fourthly, read some Psalms. Why? To distract you. Obviously this has occupied your thoughts for some time and focus for as much of it and you need to be a little looking at something that is truth but that has nothing to do with your decision. Seems strange, but it works. We tend when we have problems to work out and decide on to focus on ourselves, maybe even becoming too self-involved for a bit and our perspective when we focus on ourselves is probably biased by what others say who may or may not know the whole picture and are not God so do not know what is best for you. So, reading some truth gets you into hopefully a more objective, honest seeking frame of mind, especially truth God wrote, as He knows the best answer for you. Fifthly, re-evaluate the list of pros and cons. Look at it again with new eyes, maybe even wait a few days between steps four and five. Patience pays dividends. Sixthly, if an answer is still not forthcoming, choose extremely carefully someone you trust who is capable of being objective and demonstrates wisdom and a common love of God and seek counsel. Lay enough information there to be fair to the process of seeing counsel and objectivity and see what is said. Pray together or ask them to pray and think it over and get back to you if a deep subject with layers. Listen, but always listen knowing that discernment must be taken and allowances made that that person is a human with their own biases and opinions that may or may not be perfect for the job, but you get another opinion and that matters. Next, pray again that God reveals to you whether to trust that opinion and again what your decision should be. And lastly, make the best decision you can with the tools here and trust that decision followed due process, and LET YOUR FAITH GROW by sticking to the decision. A wavering flower that opens and closes at a whim is not as beautiful as that which stays open to show the world its beauty. If you have made the best decision you can, live there, embrace it, keep it, love it, accept it. Then you will follow this process more easily and readily the next time. Taking your time to make a decision is never wrong, it is not about speed. Some make it quickly, some take their time, but if you follow these steps, you are much more apt to make a correct decision and feel really good about it and yourself for making it. And I am very proud of you if you make a decision and stick with it. Courage is revealed through this. It is beautiful and blessed by God. Peace be with you!!!
So, when most people suffer a loss, they usually cry or they vent or they get angry or they deny, whatever suits their personality and depth of loss and feeling about said loss. Some go through all the proper steps of grief someone arbitrarily came up with. Some will get really involved in serving others or keeping busy to feel better or distract themselves. Some will self medicate to numb themselves. And grief or loss can come from one aspect of a situation also, not necessarily a person but something about them. Hope will be quieted for a while. Our hope is shaken when we mourn, at least initially. And that loss of hope can continue on if it is something you may never be able to retrieve. So, the only One we can hope in is Christ. God sees what is happening and why. No one else sees all that or can reason it out. So God is the only One who can restore hope and trust in people. I just had a friend die. She was inspiring and interesting. I am sad for her loss. I mourn her passing. Also, my Daddy is going downhill. I mourn for the loss of who he was. And another aspect of life has changed and I mourn that. All this collective mourning has allowed me both the opportunity and privilege to clean my eyes with tears and also to realize how extremely weak I really am and how vulnerable I make myself for loving people so strongly. And it always begs the question, why risk it? Why become vulnerable again? You’ll just get hurt again. And mourning always involves some level of isolation. Always. You feel alone in it. You feel you are the only one going through it. You feel no one else understands your pain or cares or you avoid people because they say all the wrong things and make it worse. And God is always with us. There is one constant companion who gets us and cares that someone does. He is the One that sees into your heart and knows we are worth more than this pain and isolation is giving us. He is the One that realizes we are precious treasures that are stronger for having been weak and wiser for having been humbled and tender for having given it one more go around when others quit. And my heart beats harder and I know I am worth more than this pain is telling me. Pain is a pessimist, a fatalist. And God is not. Mourning is carrying pain with you for a while. And for a while you need to feel it. But at some point you have to realize that it is not a part of you and you can put it down. Healing and hope are optimists and as you decrease pain, you increase hope and health. And it is imperitive that you know that God knows that you are a treasure worth working toward healing and hope. And if what you mourn is still alive it is important to know that no matter how well someone knows us, even if they know us inside and out, they have burdens to bear too, maybe even some mourning they can’t let go of yet. And if they have passed away, mourning and missing them becomes a purse you carry, a memorial to an empty spot you now have where they were. God heals and is hope but sometimes it is a process for our growth and maturity and rarely a quick fix. Patience is the key.
Celebrate! Celebrate every small thing, in your own life and in your kids’ lives, friends’ lives, family’s lives. Every small accomplishment is so very important and worth a celebration. Why? Because there are fewer and fewer reasons to celebrate in our falling apart sort of world we live in now. There is a lot of ugly. There is a lot of failure and pain and not caring about anything at all and texting instead of speaking and entertainment instead of socialization. And celebrating the small accompllishments is a huge deal and gigantic moment of hope and good memory to build on and remember when things are maybe not as good. For instance, my 5 1/2 year old daughter is now swimming in the deep end without floaties, swimming well. This is huge! We had hot fudge sundaes from McDonalds. A tiny celebration but meant a lot to us and a great memory. When Daddy had a good day, I brought him flowers. A little celebration for a small accomplishment. Just being happy about things is a big deal when so many around us are sad and gloomy. We can choose to focus on these little moments of greatness, what life is all about. Thanking God for these blessings, for He provides them all, every one of them. Proper focus saves lives or at least makes them better. 🙂
“Forget about the wrong things people do to you, and do not try to get even. Love your neighbor as you love yourself. I am the Lord.” – Leviticus 19:18
We live in a broken world. Nature itself is telling us of the brokenness. It still holds beauty but doesn’t feel the same. Things break it. Same with people. People are broken by other people, quite or most often by those who once were supposed to love them. Love is often broken by people’s interpretation of it and lack of understanding of what makes it up. Love in its true form gives. People use it to take. Love should give. People use it to take. That is imperitive to understand. I am a student of love. It lives in me and I study the purest form of love I know as a template, God. And as I learn of Him, I learn of love and see all the more the distortion of it in our world, causing or contributing to the eclectic brokenness of it all. We do not understand what we do to each other when we let love be a tool instead of a purpose or goal. Broken people walk around trying to mend themselves with scotch tape when they need surgery. They need God to heal their brokenness, and He is the only one who can. I am broken and in need of mending regularly, sometimes a few stitches, other times major brain surgery or a heart transplant. Only the Great Physician, God can do this to any effect. Only He can recreate what He first created. Only He can heal our broken country. Only love can. And love does not hold account of wrongs done against it. It picks up and serves and mends and heals and peace is its trademark. It is the most powerful force in the universe because God is Love. Pure, unblemished, truth. Love does not say I will hold you when you act or love or believe or think a certain way. Love says I will hold you. Love does not lightly pledge its allegiance but only present itself when commitment is certain. Love is not a passing passion or lust that comes on slowly but passes quickly and fades away or loses interest when a new person to lust after comes along. That is not what love is. Love is complete acceptance and dedication and peace on rainy days too, in the middle of crazy, in calm, in ugly, in beautiful, always and forever. What on this planet is more beautiful than that? More worthy of our effort? More true to combat a miriad of lies around us? More valuable? Not one thing. So, we who are broken have brokenness in common. There is one commonality that usually does not bind. But it can when love steps in. Love heals the broken and unites the mutually healed together. And there is distinctive and unequivical and incandescent beauty in that. And that, my friends, is hope.