Good Grief

Confession: its been the hardest year of my life.

Do you ever wake up and feel sad and have no idea why? This has been happening to me recently, and until I took inventory of the last year of my life, I could not figure out why.

Almost a year ago, my husband and I moved back to Texas, leaving behind a beautiful newfound home and church community. While I was still grieving that loss, trying to see the good, we lost dear relationships and two businesses. Gradually still within all of that, I have lost the predictable faith of my youth - everything I thought was certain, I now doubt.

Sometimes, the heft of the compounded losses hits me like a speeding train - all at once and with great speed and devastation. Sometimes, I can see the good in whats happened. Sometimes, I struggle to find an ounce of certainty within all that is unknown. But, mostly, I have started to let myself grieve.

Its not bad grief, its a good grief - proper recognition that we have been through something really hard, and never without gratitude for how I have been cared for through it. You see, there are times when we need to just sit in the sadness, feel the weight of the loss, silently or tearfully accepting it. Some of us need to cry, some of us need to scream, and some of us are going to be mad for a while.

Its incredibly important to realize that grief is normal. Grieving does not mean that you do not trust God or that you have lost hope. And grieving is not just reserved for the huge losses in life. Grief is a process we need to go through after something hard in order to enter into a new season.

Grief will appear at the strangest of times and in the strangest of ways, and its all a part of the process. But within that process, we cannot fail to see all that we have been given. We must let our grief lead us in the direction of better, not bitter.

When I think about the last year - I see trials and pain, but I also see provision and adventure and care and love. I got to spend a month in San Francisco, I moved into an amazing new-old house with my husband, I met new friends, I traveled with my family, I saw Josh Ritter at the Fillmore, and I dug my toes into the sand near the ocean. If I failed to see these things, I would fail to see grace.

If you struggle to see grace, look for it within common graces instead of specific ones; the graces you have to seek out. For me, its songs by Sleeping at Last, podcasts by Rob Bell, dinners with friends, and books by Madeline L’Engle. Find your common graces, and let them help you feel deeply and move you into acceptance.

I know, someday, I will look back on this last year of my life and think with a laugh, “that was a crazy adventure”. Until the day, I let myself grieve where I should, and I walk in grace.