Good Grief

It has never not been helpful for me to grieve something. I have never taken the time and effort to work through pain, hurt and disappointment and been left wondering why.  It is always good in the end, to release, to let go, to give it to Him and trust Him to take care.  And still sometimes, I resist the urge.  Some nights the prompting to grieve and let go comes and I stave it off like it is going to be the death of me.  I distract myself as completely as possible. 

Six months ago, when that Terrible Thing happened, I gave up my three favorite coping mechanisms– drinking and smoking, and well, that other one.  And now I am left with food, books and a couple of other not very effective distractions.  And part of me is wishing I had picked up that cheap bottle of red at the grocery store. 

Why?  Why not just do the work I know I need to do?  I don’t know.  Because I am a stubborn girl?  Because that would be way too easy?  Because I’ll take this dull throbbing over the sharp pain of opening up this wound?  Because I am just not there yet. 

Nancy talks about grieving all the time, and because I love her more than words and she is mostly right, I listen.  It has been more than helpful, it has been freeing, to get rid of junk, trade in ashes for beauty. I have benefited immensely from her wisdom especially in this area.  Heck, I’ve preached her grieving sermon to friends.  And I have learned to practice the process of grieving for the most part.  But it is an art form really, the openness, the stillness, the focus, the aching, the letting go.  It’s an acquired taste, healthy but certainly not the yummiest thing in the world.  Certainly not the first thing I grab out of my emotional pantry when I am looking for comfort.

That first time I stayed at Nancy’s house, she made this awful looking health-shake for breakfast.  She offered it to me and let me taste it. Part of me wanted to love it because she did.  Part of me wanted to gulp it down with a smile just like she did.  I’m sure it is full of all the right things, the healthiest shake in the world.  It’s probably the reason why she looks half her age.  And it was probably terribly impolite of me to refuse with a hint of disgust.  I thought all of those thoughts as it sat in front of me, and then I opted for scrambled eggs and toast with jam.  And she made them happily, laughing a little actually. 

I think maybe that’s what Jesus does.  I think maybe He has made this healthy mix of good things for me and He offers me a cup sometimes, watches with keen eyes as I sip, and smiles when I refuse.  I think He is okay with me not being quite there.  And I think maybe I will learn to like health-shakes eventually.  (At least I hope so, because I sure would like to look half my age someday.)  I think maybe someday I will not spend so much time thinking about why I don’t want to process the hard stuff in front of me and I’ll just gulp it down like a big girl.  I haven’t quite acquired the taste though for this grieving stuff.  It is a thick, frozen, flax-seed, strawberry, wheat-germ, hard to swallow, blended beverage.    

You know what would have been awful?  If Nancy had forced me to drink that nasty shake instead of sweetly cooking up something warm and yummy.  That would have been the opposite of helpful.  Lucky for me she is gracious.  Lucky for me, He is too. 

Part of me likes to think that she does not always drink health-shakes for breakfast.  Actually I have seen her eat bacon and eggs.  So maybe it’s okay that I am writing right now instead of taking my worries and wounds to Jesus.  Maybe in a bit I will chug this cup of goodness He is offering.  I am doing my best not to refuse with a hint of disgust.  It will be helpful I know, but I am so in the mood for bacon and eggs right now. 

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