Listening to part of a recent sermon, I heard the phrase “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.” John 5:8 (ESV) Jesus gave this instruction to a sick man lying at the pool of Bethesda seeking healing. He had waited there thirty-eight years, unable to beat anybody else to the healing waters when they stirred.
Walking to another preschool room working, after hearing this snippet of the sermon, I began to compare the grief journey to this command. There are times you just need to get up off that bed.
Get up, take – There is no one else who can do the hard work of grief for us. As much as we wish someone would make this difficult, sad part of life just disappear, that is not going to happen. Loss is real. Grief can consume us if we allow it to do so. We must be willing to admit we need help at times. We need to make the effort to look outside ourselves and take the step to get up. Help is available to the grieving. Support groups and friends are there for assistance. Yet, if we fail to get up and take what is offered, we can remain stuck in our grief, unable to move forward toward healing.
Bed – We often just long for a place to rest and lay down. There is nothing wrong with that. Grief can be exhausting. There is a time and place for allowing your body and mind to be still and take a break from the whirl of life around you. Too much of any good thing, though, is harmful. There is a difference between allowing your body and mind to rest and giving into depression and hopelessness. Life has much more to offer than just isolation in a bed.
Walk – Have the courage to take a step forward in your grief. Seek out and then accept the help you find to aid in your journey. Placing one foot in front of the other can be a goal, knowing that there is hope and healing ahead.
As I walk this journey, I get vocal at times. I find it helpful to voice my feelings. There does not necessarily have to be anyone else in the room. Just allowing your own ears to hear your efforts can spur you forward. “You can do this! Get up and go for a walk.” “It’s time to get dressed for work now.” “Wouldn’t he be proud of me if he saw what I could do?” What is it that you want to tell yourself?
One more thought. The man at the Bethesda pool had endured and waited thirty-eight years! What an incredibly long time for him to stay on task and keep trying. While I am grateful that I already see healthy progress in my own grief journey of four years, this larger number inspired me. Do not give up! God does have more for you! If this man had given up, he would have missed out on meeting Jesus and receiving the fullness of life and joy that God had in store for him. God has plans for you! Your loss does not have to define who you are or how you live. Get up off that bed.
Until next time –