Grief is a process that everyone experiences differently. In a very real way, each of us is going through a process of leaving behind…of grieving… what has been normal and adapting to a new way of existing in the world. This may be temporary, but the end is unpredictable. This means we must simultaneously embrace this “new normal,” while remembering that we are not meant to normally live this way. What’s interesting is that the walls that currently stand between us demonstrate our togetherness and recognition of God’s design for us. Our lives currently revolve around saying bye to our own routines and plans and hello to putting others before ourselves. If we are embracing this “new normal,” we are allowing this current expression of love for the other to guide every breath we take and decision we make.
Let’s consider some things that may help us through this process of embracing this temporary normal.
- Faithful people suffer. I never really understood why people of faith think they are always supposed to focus on the “bright side.” If I have faith in God, then I will always be content with my circumstances. Well…sort of. Trusting God through anything means finding Him in and through the suffering that befalls us. We can’t disregard the suffering or pretend like we’re “fine.” Those that truly seek to follow the Lord, will suffer as He did. This doesn’t mean we fall into hopelessness and despair. It means we embrace the suffering for the sake of the world, as He did. We call Him the “Suffering Servant.” In a couple weeks, we will refer to His Passion, His Suffering. It is the Cross, His voluntary acceptance of death, that opens the door to life eternal. We must remember who we worship when we are considering how to experience a crisis. It’s here. We’re in it. Let it be real, so that you can find Him in it and recognize that you’re not getting through it without Him.
- Don’t apologize for your feelings. Feelings are meant to be acknowledged and experienced. They are good tools to gauge where we are and what’s happening inside us. It’s important to name them so that they can be worked through. We want to be conscious not to allow our feelings to cause an unhealthy reaction that is harmful to ourselves and our relationships. Name the feeling and allow it to bring healthy awareness of yourself and your current experience.
- This should be hard. This isn’t normal. We are not meant to exist like this. Therefore, be ok with it being hard. It’ll be helpful in the adapting process to accept the difficulty. You’ll have more grace and mercy for yourself and others. And you’ll be able to live peacefully and do your best when you’re not fighting against the inherent difficulty of this.
- Accept what you can’t control. There is no benefit in putting time and energy into prolonged anger at things you can’t change. If there was ever a time to consider what is IN your control, it’s now. Each of us, now and forever, have control over one thing…ourselves. Who you are always matters. Think about what you’re choosing to have on your mind, say with your lips, and offer with your life. Put your energy into things that will produce good fruit.
- Feel disappointed. Don’t embrace disappointment. It’s very natural to feel disappointed when exciting plans change…especially when they involve milestones and years of anticipation. Acknowledge that you’re disappointed, but don’t exist with disappointment. It’s not a helpful state to hold on to when pursuing peace and adaptation. You’ll also find that holding on to disappointment will keep your focus on yourself and what you want. The most healthy way to move through it is to feel it, acknowledge the sadness and frustration the change has brought, and give yourself some grace and time.
- Want what you have. When we consider what makes most people frustrated, or even miserable, it’s when we are not getting what we want. If we are constantly fighting against the way it is, especially when we can’t change it, we will never be able to submit and give ourselves to what’s in front of us. When we want what we have, compassion and gratitude show up with ease. Wanting what we have allows our eyes and hearts to be open to our current calling. From doing the dishes, to school online…give the activity of the moment your full attention without wanting something else. Actively exercise wanting what you have.
- Look for opportunities. It’s a very real possibility that some of the things that have changed externally have made room for us to see the internal changes we need to make. We also may have opportunities show up that will allow relationships to thrive and healthy habits to be formed. If we are open, we will be able to see the light in the darkness and the opportunities we are given to grow in our awareness of God, ourselves, and others.
Allow yourself to have your own unique process of grieving and adapting. Great peace and joy await those who allow the current moment to be what it is.