Brakes and gas

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When I was learning to drive I was warned about the bad habit of pushing the accelerator, quickly slamming on the brakes, then laying on the gas again. The extreme use of applying brakes and gas certainly is not a smooth or smart way to drive. In fact, the overuse of them can actually create a dangerous situation.

As you travel along grief’s road, there will be occasion for you to halt your forward progress in order to slow down and process your emotions and deal with life’s demands. It will be natural for you to be still at times, receiving needed rest and time before once again moving forward. While you can expect your progress of healing to slow and even stop for a short while, most of your grief journey will be spent moving forward.

You may have days when you feel lost and finding joy seems hopeless. Anticipating the pain of recurring grief, you may unintentionally be applying the brakes in your journey, fearing the hurt that may be ahead. By digging in your heels and refusing to move forward, you actually can cause more heartache for yourself and those around you. Being unwilling to accept the changes that grief brings is a sad place to park.

There is also danger in stepping too quickly on the gas while moving along grief’s road. Wanting to avoid the pain and sadness associated with death, some people choose to ignore their loss and hurry through each day. They refusing to admit a need to process what has happened and work through certain emotions. Speeding ahead full steam without awareness of your surroundings may cause you to repeat your journey later down the road instead of healing and finding comfort and joy in the present.

The misuse of both brakes and gas in your grief can cause your journey to be jerky at best. Though traveling through grief is never smooth, it is possible to move ahead at a reasonable, doable, and healthy speed. Expecting the turns and obstacles that slow you down will help you process more quickly. Fearing those same turns and obstacles is not necessary when you trust that God has a plan for your future and none of your present life situation has caught Him by surprise.

Everyone will move along the journey of grief at their own pace. There is no one correct speed that should be dictated to all who are on this journey. No formula can promise that in a certain amount of months of years, you will feel all better. Just as you are an individual and uniquely created by God, your journey is unique as well.

Move forward with confidence. Do your best to find joy along the way. Admit when you need to slow down and rejoice when you can gain a little momentum. The reasonable use of brakes and gas is necessary in your journey. May you be encouraged to find the right combination for you.

Until next time –

Karen

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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.

Leapfrog

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Traveling from Denver to Topeka this week I had to smile each time I encountered trucks along the way. While I would not describe myself as being competitive, I do find satisfaction when I pass a truck and see it disappear in my rear-view mirror as I pull away – going the proper speed limit, of course.

However, the moment of victory with each truck was easily forfeited if I chose to pull off the road for gas or a short break. Even though it is necessary to stop and take care of business occasionally, I found it frustrating to realize that those same trucks gained on me during my interludes. How dare they!

As I had to work again to catch up and fight for my position on the road, I realized that the grief journey is a lot like playing leapfrog. It seems that as we walk this difficult path, we jockey for position with pain, sadness, and progress.

You will have days when you feel great. Your attitude is good and your hopes are high. When you look behind, you can see the advancement you have made and your forward progress is steady. Until one morning, for some unforeseen reason, life seems dismal. Depression attacks with a vengeance and you struggle to even get out of bed and accomplish the simplest tasks.

What happened? How did grief catch up to you so quickly and unexpectedly? Just as I had to drive hard and keep focused to overtake the trucks on the highway, when you walk through grief, determination is necessary.

Knowing ahead of time that you will experience set backs and disappointments will help prepare you for those surprise encounters. When the sun shines outside yet all you are able to see is a gloomy future, know that you just need to play a little leapfrog and spring into action. You have not really lost the ground you have worked so hard to gain. Regressing periodically is part of the journey. Stay focused, think positive thoughts, and rely upon God’s strength in your life to hop over the seemingly large obstacles in your path. When you continue to try, healing is within your grasp.

Picture yourself placing your hands on that roadblock and pushing off the ground with your legs planted firmly. Before you know it, you will find yourself propelled upward out of the depths toward your goal ahead. Play a little leapfrog and find yourself once again moving along your grief journey with success and victory in sight.

Until next time –

Karen

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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 Wagon Wheel

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I saw this wheel today as I explored a fun, local restaurant site, White Fence Farms, and was immediately drawn to it. First of all, Alan loved farm equipment, antiques, and unusual items, so objects in these categories remind me of him. As I looked at it, I realized the wagon wheel had some similarities to the grief journey.

The rim that circles around represents the person who is spinning in grief. Your life seems to keep going around and around, oftentimes seemingly out of control. There are moments when all you want is to run and hide from the loneliness, fear, and pain that are so prominent after experiencing a loss. You would give anything to make time go backwards so you could have one more day and another conversation with your loved one.

However, none of those desires are possible. You are forced to continue traveling on a hard path. But then something happens. You realize you have people who come alongside you to give encouragement, support, and perhaps just a shoulder upon which to cry. The spokes of the wheel symbolize these special individuals. As they make connections with you, they add support and help you stand strong. Their interactions in your life add stabilization to a world that now seems quite unpredictable and wobbly.

Looking again at the construction of the wheel, you notice the rim and spokes all connect with the center hub. In order to walk with sure steps, we must be anchored securely to a firm foundation. If that hub were taken away, the wagon wheel would collapse, falling apart, pieces flying in all directions.

I am grateful for the hub of my life, Jesus Christ. He has provided my friends and family who add strength and stability to my world when I lack the ability to continue forward on my own. No one need travel the hard journey of grief alone. Be honest and open with those around you when they ask how they can help. Put your pride aside and voice your needs and concerns. Expecting others to automatically know what you need only leads to disappointment when their efforts fall short.

Who are the special people in your life? Draw the wagon wheel and put names alongside the lines of the spokes. Then honestly answer the question of who or what is your wagon wheel hub. If it is anything or anyone other than Christ, perhaps it is time to re-examine and re-evaluate where you are placing your trust.

The grief journey is long and can be very difficult. Having the wagon wheel in good repair is essential to smoothing out your trip.

Until next time –

Karen

Grief Letters is available now online at WestBow Press at:

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

and at Amazon as well as Barnes and Noble.

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