It happened again, just the other day — it was suggested that I “stop going onto those pages and stop helping others who are grieving because it is keeping you living in the past.” Like my grief is holding me back. Like my learning to live with my grief and helping to lead others out of a very dark place — that I had gotten to after the murder of my son — is a bad thing.
I shake my head, more at myself than anyone, at questioning, for a moment, if the lady who suggested this was right.
As I questioned myself and my own path over the last, nearly, 6 years. I began looking at my interaction with others. I will admit I even compared my interactions, a bit, with her’s. Now this is a church going, God loving person who is active in her church. So, I was surprised this came from her, on one hand, but … then again she has not suffered a heaven sent child loss – first hand – as I have. She has only been on the shirttail of it all since that 8th day of September 2010.
I have found that I think she, and many others possibly (because this has been said to me by a couple of other well meaning, loving folks) forgotten that in 1 Peter 4:10-11 we are told:
As each has received a gift, [we are to] use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—[should do so] in order that in everything [we do] God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever.
After all, I openly admit that I couldn’t have made it this far without the strength of something bigger then myself. But maybe I missed effectively conveying this to those around me whom my grief still bothers, to those around me who are at a loss because my grief still hurts them.
Maybe they think I can turn my grief on and off like a light switch.
Maybe they think it would be easier to deal with me if I was not so open about my grief, open about my learning to live on this altered path, open about taking x-y- and z steps to regain what I can of me (the me that was here before the murder of my son)?
Then I find myself looking at Galatians 5:13-14:
For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
For many who know me, are coming to know me through this blog, the Hearts For Bereaved page (a private group page on Facebook), and one-on-one contact like the recent blessing of answering the phone, at my day job, to a wife who is reeling from the unexpected death of her husband – I am a loving person. I am a ‘Pay It Forward’ person. It has been my nature since I was born. It is ingrained in me to give so much, let alone it goes along with my personal faith.
Don’t get me wrong, there have been things (and people) that have happened in my life that have tried to break that loving kindhearted spirit within me. There have even been times I thought “that” might have won. But, alas, today, today I can say – those forces have not won. I have. And it is because of the strength I have gained from my faith which tells me at my weakest the strength comes from God.
I am reminded in Proverbs11:25: Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered. The reality is I have been blessed. I have not been nice and loving and kind and caring to others to better my place in the eye of the Lord. In turn, allowing myself to continue to be kind has helped me. It has “watered” my soul, as it is promised in Proverbs 11:25.
I am not blind to Philippians 2:1-5 in which we are encouraged to not be selfish if we feel encouragement from our relationship with Jesus. So if there is any encouragement in Christ, (which I have) any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit (which I have), any affection and sympathy (which I have), complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from rivalry or conceit (which I do not), but in humility count others more significant than yourselves (which I have be faulted by others for doing). Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others….
I am reminded that …we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them (Ephesians 2:10).
When one of us suffers a deep personal loss of a child or a husband, wife, sibling or friend we should not be alone in our grief at all times. That is not how it was meant to be. We need others to lead us, by example, by encouragement and sometimes by the hand — out of the darkness and down the new, bumpy path we are now thrust upon to travel. And that is what I am doing when I help others who walk, stumble and fall on the same or nearly same path I am now navigating.
I am sorry my grief has not dissipated and has not gone away – because it seems, even nearly 6 years later, my grief is still too much for others. I am sorry my grief brings pain to others. But I am better than I was, even if they don’t see it. I am healthier because I am able to share this grief aloud with others. I am healthier because I am able to be the shoulder for others. I am stronger in my faith, as well, as I do not question the helping position I have been put in (just wish others saw it that way too).