Last week I made the decision to climb twenty-seven feet into the air with a friend, trying out The Cliff Hanger bounce house. My church had rented it for a Christmas tree lighting activity for our community. As I hung there three stories above the ground, I looked down the enormous slide wondering what in the world I had gotten myself into. I have never been a fan of heights. In fact, I am terrified of them. Yet, I found myself in quite the dilemma. There was only way down and that was to just let go. So, I closed my eyes, released my death-grip on the rings holding me in place, and found myself speeding down the slide. I opened my eyes as I descended and realized that I actually enjoyed the slide and it was not nearly as bad as I had feared.
Reflecting upon that experience, I realize that the ride of the grief journey requires the same thing. You have to just let go as you discover your new life. While you may desire for things to return to normal, that is not possible. Death changes things. So how do you find the courage to just let go?
I braved the adventure of The Cliff Hanger with a friend. Jin Jo actually had the idea to climb and she encouraged me to come with her. I am not sure I would have ventured the climb and fall if it had not been for her going with me. As you walk through grief, look for friends along the way. Who is it that is willing share their courage and cheer you forward?
There will be times when you should admit you need help. Those who have never experienced death and loss may not realize how hard your journey is. So we who have lived through such pain may need to open up and share with others how they can help. It is not a weakness to admit a need. It actually takes great courage to do so. Just let go and take that first step. The path will likely not be as impossible as you fear.
When we face the unknown it is common to be afraid and to hold on to what we have known. When I climbed up those three stories last week, I found myself clinging to the rings at the top, fearful of the unknown. While hanging there was scary, the fall downward was terrifying. It was new and unfamiliar. Tomorrow is also an unknown. It may seem to make sense to hang on to what you know, even if it keeps you stuck in grief and failing to move forward toward healing. However, continuing to grasp what you have known in the past will not allow you to grow and find the wonders of life that still await you.
As you find yourself facing new heights and the unknown summits of grief, remember that you need to just let go. Trust God and believe that the plummet into the unfamiliar can be full of joy and unexpected thrills.
Until next time –
With the holidays approaching, Grief Letters makes the perfect gift for those 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. Place your order today!
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.