So big

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This past weekend I had the pleasure to attend our church’s family camp near Grand Lake, Colorado. It is a beautiful setting that backs up into the Rocky Mountain National Park. I was hoping to see some wildlife on this trip and I was not disappointed. The picture shown here is of a huge moose chowing down in someone’s front yard. The picture is not enlarged. We were really that close to him as we pulled the car to the side of the road. He was so big I was actually nervous to be as close as we were.

Seeing the enormity of this beauty reminds me how easy it is to be overwhelmed by grief at times. The journey is so big and life can get very difficult as you learn to maneuver your way along a new trail. How is it possible to keep your footing and make headway when the task before you seems so daunting at times?

Perhaps we can learn something from our large friend here. Moose tend to be one of the least social hoofed animals according to Animal Diversity Web. They keep to themselves for the most part, being active mainly at sunset and sunrise. I smile as I see several similarities to the grief journey here.

As you find yourself alone and processing through your grief, it is easy to isolate yourself and pull away from people. Perhaps the conversations are too difficult to manage. Your energy level is low and your mind runs a little slower, which makes it challenging to talk to others at times. Your train of thought takes sudden turns and is easily lost in mid-sentence. You find it frustrating to keep up with those around you. It is tempting to pull away and take the easier route of just being alone most of the time.

Sleep is also fleeting for some people experiencing grief. As the sun sets, you find yourself wide-awake and wandering around the house trying to find something to occupy your time. While you desire to sleep late when your calendar allows, your body refuses to relax and stay put and you find you are up at sunrise despite your best efforts to catch a few more minutes sleep. The grief journey can certainly be an exhausting one.

Moose have thin legs in proportion to the rest of their body. It seems unlikely that they can stand upright not to mention able move at a startling speed in excess of 50 miles per hour. As you find yourself walking through grief, your legs may tremble at times and it can seem you are unable to move forward. Trust though, that you can indeed take your journey one step at a time. There is no need to hurry and rush as you process your loss. Making your way along this path is not a race to the end. It is more like a marathon. Slow and steady will serve you better as you manage your way over the obstacles you are bound to encounter.

You may look ahead and comment that the grief is so big you fear you cannot continue. At those times, set your sights closer. Instead of looking ahead to next month or next year, think about tonight, tomorrow, or next week. Giving yourself permission to see life in smaller bits will be less overwhelming and allow you to experience small doses of success, giving you hope for the days ahead.

Yes, the grief journey can look so big that you can feel lost and alone. However, realize that there are people around who can help; friends and family who love you and care about you. There is a God who can meet your needs as well if you will allow Him to do so. You can do this. Nothing is so big that in time, you cannot relearn how to enjoy life again.

Until next time –

Karen

Moose facts from animaldiversity.org

Let me encourage you to share Grief Letters with those you know walking through loss and sadness. This devotion book is filled with lessons learned from my own journey as well as suggested activities written to help achieve forward progress through grief.

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Grief Letters By Karen Bransgrove, Published by WestBow Press. You can order here.

Hardcover | 6 x 9 in | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869674

Softcover | 6 x 9 in | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869667

E-Book | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869650

Also available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

This Necessary Skill

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Living life requires that each of us develop certain abilities. As young children we learn to move from crawling to walking and eventually to running. We go to school in order to improve in reading, writing and arithmetic so we can function through the daily requirements of adulthood. Eventually we discover and practice our social skills as we begin to date and form lasting relationships.

Looking back through life, we realize that we have learned much and were taught to accomplish many things. However, what about this necessary skill of saying good-bye? When is that explained? Who can equip us for such a task? How do we manage to handle such an overwhelming requirement?

Saying good-bye to a loved one – whether friend or family – is this necessary skill that we often fail to grasp a need for and learn. What is involved as we are forced to say farewell to a person who has added so much to our life?

Tears are a great place in which to begin saying good-bye. Crying allows our emotions to have a voice. While we may be unable to form words to show the depth of our feelings, tears manage to shout louder and clearer than any verbal language. No matter where you live on this earth, tears are understood as conveying sadness, passion, and perhaps regret. While everyone may not necessarily appreciate the streams of water upon our faces, as they make some people uncomfortable, tears provide a voice for the sorrow deep within.

Allowing yourself the grace to forget timetables is another worthwhile component of this necessary skill of saying good-bye. Each person’s grief journey is unique. No one gets to demand when you should smile, how you should feel, or what you should “get over.” Some people will take longer to conquer this difficult task of good-bye. Do not compare yourself with others who are also going through a loss.

Realizing that there are better days ahead is part of learning this necessary skill. If you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, then you have the tools to eventually overcome your sorrow and grief. Dig into the Bible and read the promises of God. Meet with a person on a similar journey and hear how they have managed to move forward. Trust that you are not alone, even on your darkest days.

Is there something special you can do to honor your loved one as you say good-bye? The picture on today’s post is a special brick that a dear friend purchased and had placed at the Estes Park Observatory as a surprise for me. I found this to be a wonderful aid in saying farewell.

Death is a certainty here on earth. Therefore, saying good-bye is this necessary skill each of us will need to put into practice at some point. Knowing that there is a God who wants to carry you through those hard times can make the actuality of saying good-bye bearable.

Keep practicing on your skills. You can move forward and you will one day feel better.

Until next time –

Karen

Find more help in learning to practice this necessary skill with Grief Letters.

http://bookstore.westbowpress.com/Author/Default.aspx?BookworksSId=SKU-000980156

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