It’s hard to miss the signs of Spring – just look outside.
If you live where there’s still a chance of snow, the snow no longer freezes into ice sheets overnight, but melts quickly after only a few hours, leaving streets only wet, and the yard nicely watered.
If you don’t get snow, you can see the grass greening up. Buds on the trees. Even in cold climates, crocus pop their heads above ground, soon to be followed by tulips, daffodils and other flowers.
For many people, Spring is a sign of new life and happiness.
But for others, it’s a reminder that the world is moving on without a loved one. If you’ve lost someone you love, it may be your first Spring without them. Their smile, their laugh, their company. It can be a dark and hard time.
If that’s where you are, I am so sorry for the loss that you feel every day. For the grief that grips you from time to time and almost takes your breath away. For your dreams that feel broken, your life that feels fragmented.
Maybe it’s not yourself, but you know someone whose loved one died recently – or even in the past year. All those firsts are terribly hard. The first birthday or anniversary. The first of every holiday without them. It can be unsettling, and leave the one left behind feeling shattered – like they’re not all there.
There’s a Hebrew word for that: “tamei” – pronounced “taw may”. It means fragmented or unwhole. It doesn’t mean you’re coming apart completely, but definitely not in a place of wholeness and peace referred to in the Hebrew word Shalom. And during this time there can be a vulnerability in thoughts that might not otherwise occur to you, in activities you might not normally consider, and in spiritual matters not making sense. In these areas there needs to be a sense of vigilance and protection.
There is a lot to do when someone passes away. And sometimes the busyness of notifications, paperwork, planning, and the hands-on work of sorting-boxing-and moving property is overwhelming. And then you need to get back to your normal busy life.
But it’s important to take time to process what has happened, to sit with it. To understand and accept it. To talk with a trusted friend or with God about it. Everyone processes differently, but what is important is that you take the time to do that necessary task.
In the Old Testament people took 7 days. Time with no other responsibilities. Refrain from social engagements – even church, shopping, most chores; take time off work for a few days after all the “work” of death is done.
Do things that encourage or bless you. Activities that bring you a sense of calm and peace. Things that feed your soul. Thanks that can help you get back to that sense of wholeness – Shalom.
What would that look like for you? Or your friend?
I have seen people go off the deep end with grief, and become bitter and distrustful of God – creating a hardship in their lives and attitudes that drove people away from them. I have also seen people ignore this necessary process, behaving as if nothing had changed, only to deal with serious issues as they arose later.
If you didn’t get a chance to take that time when your loved one passed, do it now. Or if you have a friend going through grief, encourage them to do it.
Whether for you, or your friend, I pray that God will create light out of the darkness.
That He will shine His light into the darkness of any circumstances you may be experiencing with grief.
That you will open your spiritual eyes to see the light He’s brought you. That His light will be a beacon for you.
That it will give you hope and direction and comfort. And that you will give glory to Him. Amen