Updated: Jul 22, 2021
"For the LORD has called you back from your grief..." Is. 54:6
We have been in a long season of grief. It feels like when one sorrow has ended, another begins. Not only us, but those around us. Perhaps it’s because when you experience sorrow yourself you are more aware of it? Like when you are looking for a certain sandal and then suddenly you notice everyone who wears them! Or when ads suddenly seem to target that very thing you are shopping for (but wait, maybe that’s different?!). It reminds me of the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon--when you discover something new, and then suddenly it’s everywhere, or at least you notice it everywhere!
Grief is like this.
When you have experienced a loss, suddenly you begin to see losses around you. It’s not that they were never there before, but you become awakened to them. I think this is how God made us, to live in community with one another--to experience what others are feeling. To bear each others’ burdens. This is not to say that when we haven’t experienced significant loss we can’t empathize or walk alongside others. But there seems to be a special connection when we feel others’ losses so acutely, it touches our very soul because we have also lost.
A season of grief.
Is there such a thing? Throughout the Bible, there are a stream of passages that speak to mourning turning to dancing, sorrow to joy, beauty given for ashes. From the Psalms (which are a compilation of songs) to the prophets...the theme of returning joy is pervasive. I can say then, without a doubt, this season of grief is but for a season. And soon, just like winter turns into spring, the deadness turns into little buds of newness.
Not that we forget. We still remember and always will.
But recently I have been feeling this call out of grief. It’s been two years filled with the ups and downs of loss. Just when you feel ready to give it up, a new wave of grief hits. New physical symptoms in your body appear that you can’t make sense of. Your body is feeling what you struggle to process. At some point, it all has to come out. You thought you were over it. But it’s all fresh like yesterday. But eventually those waves of grief become shorter, and the periods are longer between.
It still hurts, it always will. But I have to see there is a bigger calling on my life. A calling to see my situation from a 10,000 foot view. A calling out of this season--this is not what defines who I am. There is more to this life than dwelling on the past. It is this past that can enable us to embrace the future fully. There is a calling out that must happen though, movement forward.
There is a call to joy.
A call to beauty. A call to dance. And a call to worship forward.
You did it: you changed wild lament into whirling dance;
You ripped off my black mourning band and decked me with wildflowers.
I’m about to burst with song; I can’t keep quiet about you.
God, my God, I can’t thank you enough. (Psalm 30:11-12)