Little Things

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Journeying through grief is full of huge challenges. Whether you are saying goodbye to a loved one after a long illness, or find yourself suddenly dealing with a loss, there is no denying that change is part of your reality now. Facing the fact that life will be forever different is difficult and sad. While there are big hurdles to jump over as you learn to live without your loved one, you will find that the little things can also cause you to stop and catch your breath.

Finances can be tricky to maneuver when your loved one was the major breadwinner in your family. Perhaps you depended upon their transportation, not being a driver yourself. While these circumstances certainly demand immediate attention as you learn to adjust and survive the great pain of grief, what about the little things?

These are the everyday, rarely thought of items that occur in the background of life. The little things often taken for granted until they suddenly stop being part of your world. Things like the sound of fresh coffee brewing in the morning, dirty socks on the floor, and the aroma of soap and cologne drifting from the bathroom. Walking in the front door and seeing a bouquet of flowers on the table “just because” may be a sight you miss and remember fondly.

I recall coming home from various work trips to find that Alan would have repainted a kitchen wall as a surprise, rearranged the bedroom furniture to try something new, or he had built a fire in the fireplace with pillows and blankets placed on the floor, candlelight glowing and a favorite movie ready in the DVD player. The phone calls to ask what he could pick up from the store on the way home from work or choosing to let me sleep in a bit on a Saturday morning while he started a load of laundry for us were thoughtful tasks he performed. Washing the car and making sure it was full of gas and ready for the week were two things I could always count on him doing for me. Those little things are often overlooked and under appreciated until they are gone.

As you journey through grief, what are the little things that you miss? Recalling those and then finding a way to provide some of them for yourself can be comforting. I occasionally buy myself a little bouquet of flowers. Their aroma and pretty colors have a way of brightening my day. The little things can encourage you to move forward in grief, even in the midst of great loss and pain.

Take a look to determine if there is a something you can do to contribute to your happiness today. Perhaps making a list of the little things you miss the most will give you some creativity in moving forward toward health and healing as you journey through grief.

Until next time –

Karen

Won’t you consider buying Grief Letters for a loved one or for yourself? Begin the year with hope and purpose. 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. Place your order today!

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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.

The Little Things

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Many people know that I collect penguins. This picture shows  just a few I own. However, I am not sure many realize why I chose this odd little bird. Years ago I attended a Women of Faith conference. One of the speakers, Lucy Swindoll, shared her story of going on a cruise south in the Antarctica area. Her dream was to see a whale. This desire consumed her thoughts on that trip. She kept watch day after day to catch a glimpse of this giant, water mammal. Yet, time after time she was disappointed. Nearing the end of the cruise she desperately searched the horizon, hoping to finally see the spray of water and swish of tail. It did not happen.

However, as she turned in the other direction to see what others were commenting on, she saw a gathering of little penguins! The cute little guys were  jumping off some ice in the distance to play in the water. Lucy shared the wisdom she gained from that experience. My paraphrase of it is this: “Do not be so consumed looking for the big, exciting things in life that you miss the little blessings along the way.”

After that conference, I decided that I did not want to be so focused and set on my own goals and big dreams that I would miss the simple, daily pleasures that God placed in my life. Little did I know all those years ago that my penguins would be so significant in reminding me of God’s presence, especially in hard times.

As I look at my collection spread through a room in my house and in my office at work, I can smile with confidence.   Even though the big dreams I had with my husband have changed since his death, I am reminded and assured that God still has good plans for me. Each day has little blessings just waiting to be realized and appreciated.

Recently, my pastor shared a verse with us mentioning little things. “Who despises the day of small things?” (Zechariah 4:10 NIV) These Old Testament people were working to rebuild the temple and some mistakenly thought it insignificant. Just because something is small does not mean it is unimportant. Do not be afraid to celebrate the small things in life.

Surviving the holidays after grief is really no small feat! Finding ways to laugh and enjoy those special days may not seem like much – but to the grieving, we know better. So this next week, allow yourself permission to smile and feel victorious even if a few tears slide down your face as you grin. Be on the lookout for your little blessings as you live one day at a time.

Until next time –

Karen