How are you supposed to walk? It’s a simple question, with a short answer. You put one foot in front of the other, and move forward. That’s how you learn to walk when you’re born. As a child, we all crawl then slowly, with the help of others, pick ourselves up and move forward. We stand, awkwardly at first and then barrel forward believing we are invincible. But, we fall. We run into a table, overestimate our strength, or simply are just not ready. But, eventually we become more comfortable never looking back on the days of crawling, we’ve moved on if you will. I find grief to be a very similar experience; in times of grief in my life, and in the lives of others. We are shaken, hopelessly lost in times of uncertainty that we have no strength. We fall, and on the ground we forget a lot of what we knew. A lot of what we took for granted, which was so secure in our lives is now gone, and we start over. Trying to put one foot in front of the other.
Grief can make a lot of us act childish. We simply forget how to take care of ourselves, and we forget how to walk. Crawling, we long for the normalcy that was there, but has been taken from us ever so swiftly, and a lot of times without warning. We crawl, trying to poke around to feel things, anything that resembles a better time. But, a lot of times we fail miserably by ourselves. Sure, we can pick ourselves up and walk. But, we’ll run into something; a memory, a picture, or just a bad day. We’ll tell ourselves that we are okay, but in the silence of ourselves do we realize we need help. We forget who we are, and we forget how to walk.
Whatever it may be, grief rattles us. The death of a loved one, the loss of a relationship, a job, you name it anything that causes grief can and will humble us. It will make us forget how to walk. When learning how to walk, so many times someone helped us get on the right path. To pick us up off the ground, and raise us up to where we could walk. We would fall a few times, but eventually we got the hang of it. Grief causes us to move backwards, to go to a place where we never want to be. Grieving is a miserable process to do alone. Having others near, and where you can talk to, where others can lift you up is so important.
When life flips us upside down, and everything we’ve ever known is taken, remember there is always hope. That suffering, true suffering is one of the ways we can feel what Christ felt. Paul said it so well in 2 Corinthians talking about God, “who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” Life is not easy. Life is a lot of times not fun, but have hope for suffering, because it is temporary like most things here on earth. It’s hard learning to walk again. Learning to move forward is awkward, frustrating and a slow process. But, there is healing, just as there is freedom in learning to walk. One step at a time, one day at a time, moving forward and learning how to walk again.
I’ll close this with a great quote from Henri Nouwen:
“When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.”
Peace and love, friends