The silence of grief during the holiday season
Grief is complicated and unique for everyone. While accepting loss becomes easier over time, it is often something we carry with us forever.
Don’t you wish you could press pause on grieving during the holiday season? Does your mind constantly reminisce on that loved one who has passed away? Maybe you're grieving over a relationship that meant the world to you but you've lost it? It could be you're grieving over a relationship that you are currently in, and it's unraveling right before your eyes, but you can't stop it. You are powerless to stop it because the other person doesn't want to be in a relationship with you anymore or vice versa.
All these scenarios sadden me. I've experienced them all. That is why I empathize with people who are grieving. I hope these scenarios evoke empathy from you, especially when we think about the silent grief many people shoulder during the holiday season.
Are you experiencing grief during this holiday season?
Grief is a deep sorrow, especially that which is caused by someone's death or someone who is still alive but has chosen to no longer remain in your life; or you have painstakingly chosen to end the relationship. You may not define your feelings and thoughts as grief, but if you have experienced a permanent loss and you're wounded by it or deeply saddened, there is a great chance you're dealing with grief.
Grief is complicated and unique for everyone. While accepting loss becomes easier over time, it is often something we carry with us forever. At best we learn how to manage it and at worst, we try to hold on to our lives by a thread of hope. Hoping and praying one day life will be easier amidst our loss.
I read a quote on grief by author Vicki Harrison that gives a clear visual of managing not mastering grief. And I quote, "Grief is like the ocean; it comes on waves ebbing and flowing. Sometimes the water is calm, and sometimes it is overwhelming. All we can do is learn to swim."
If you're grieving or have dealt with grief, think about your life right now, your current situation, in light of Vicki's statement. The reality of so many of us who have had to deal with grief, like this holiday, is overwhelming at times. No amount of prayer, worship, Bible reading, or emotional suppression can take away what grief is meant to expose us to: the fragility of life and the overcomers’ badge of life.
Life is fragile. It teaches us not to take our relationships we cherish for granted. Today we're celebrating and tomorrow we can be grieving. Enjoy the ones you love. Be a good friend not in thought only but in action. Call your friends; visit them this holiday. I assure you one if not all of them are carrying some form of life's weight.
Overcomers' badge of life. There are ways to know we're going to be okay in this life; and that recognition gives us comfort. Did you know Jesus assures us we will be okay because He overcame this life for us? I quote Jesus, "I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth, you will have trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world,” John 16:33. I recognize we aren't hardwired to not struggle with our humanity, but our humanity has already been addressed through Jesus. He promises that we will be okay despite our trials and sorrows because He has overcome this world.
Don't try to fake it until you make it this holiday season. That's not necessary for you or for anyone in your life. Call it what it is, "I'm walking through grief. I'm saddened by such and such." Call it what it is but be assured Jesus has overcome this world on our behalf and He promises that we will be okay if we keep our eyes on Him.
We must pay attention to how He overcame the world; then copy Him: live like Him, think like Him, act like Him. He says, "We will be overcomers too." In fact, if we are already living this way - we are an OVERCOMER.
Aren't you thankful Jesus doesn't ask us to measure being an overcomer against our perfection, but merely our progression in life? Thank you Jesus!
May God give you grace upon grace during this holiday season.