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Finding Purpose While Grieving

When someone we love leaves this world ahead of us, we are left feeling lost and confused. We grapple to find ways to make sense of what has happened. Finding a purpose or torch we can carry onward is one of the most powerful ways to cope with grief.


As those left behind, still living out the life we came here to live, we can get lost in despair. I often find my thoughts taking sad, dark paths of doubt. I wonder to myself, ‘what is the point?’ We struggle through life, trying to have a positive impact and suddenly the people we depend upon to feed our brilliance are plucked away. If we are going to endure the darkness we have to find a reason, a purpose, a hope.

I think that God provides us with the spark – the idea we need to ignite our torch of purpose. We just need to learn to listen and endure. Both of these points are key and rough spots. Often what we are asked to do is no piece of cake! That makes sense because I think we are here to grow, and growth almost always requires pushing ourselves into discomfort. Endurance is tough too. Once we get rolling, the feedback and benefits we can see from our efforts push us forward with some momentum. Eventually we come across bumps in the road. Bumps or roadblocks can result in a sputtering or guttering guiding torch.


In my grief journey, one of the first sustaining thoughts I remember having is that I knew that writing would eventually be my life-line. It took a long time. That spark of thought that God gifted me smoldered through 2 years of numbness before I determined that it was time. I lifted my head from the fog and accepted that if I was going to move forward in a purposeful way, I had to start. I had to grit my teeth through the pain that sharing my experience invariably brings and begin.


Almost immediately my commitment to action bore fruit. As I shared, others shared back. I could see that my experience and sharing what I had been through was helping others. Even more significantly I could feel the support and affirmation of those I’ve lost. My weekly blog posts became the golden thread of light that pulled me through. I was spurred to learn more, broaden my understanding, and pursue life’s meaning actively.


Last November I felt strong enough to undertake the ultimate goal I have placed for myself which is to write a book on Grief. I took a break from my blog to focus my energy on the book. I made a great start but then I came up against the most challenging portion of my story and I faltered. Christmas came and I eagerly accepted the excuse to set aside the work. Christmas passed as did January… February… March. The longer my ‘pen’ remained idle, the dimmer my torch of purpose burned. As the dimness grew, the more the doubt and a feeling of senselessness tormented me.


A couple weeks ago I got a notice in my email. A book I had forgotten I had put a library hold on was ready for pick up. It was “A Journey of Souls” by Michael Newton. It is a very interesting read. The greatest impact it had on me was to remind me that our lives here on Earth have a reason. Some people may have a keen realization of the exact purpose of their life. Others of us may not. I don’t know if there is one grand purpose we are all born to achieve. I do think that when we return to our Heavenly home, will look at the life we’ve lived and consider if we made the most of the opportunities given to us.


I was so grateful for that wakeup call – for the reminder that I so desperately needed. Life is not meaningless or pointless but sometimes it is up to us to accept the daily challenges that come to us and make the most of them. I think that is the purpose we are all called to. Like most people, I don’t feel I have been issued ‘a calling’. My writing brings something positive to the world. I think God is good with that. When I don’t feel compelled to write, but do anyway, I think perhaps when it’s time for me to look back from my Heavenly perch I will be satisfied with my choice.

It doesn’t matter what purpose you find to draw you through the mires of grief or the doldrums of daily drudgery. Maybe it is something simple like offering smiles to people you meet or something big like feeding the hungry. Whatever it is, I believe when you take the opportunities you are given to brighten this world you will give your soul peace and satisfaction during your Heavenly review.


For me, I plan to accept the nudge I was given. I have a renewed determination to do everything I can to minimize the amount of regret or missed opportunity I will find at the end of this life. An additional incentive for those of us who are pushing through grief is the endurance it brings to those we grieve. By continuing to make a difference through my experience of suffering the passing of my son, I carry his impact onward as well. That is one of the best reasons I can think of to carry on.

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This life of mine has  given me many rewarding and challenging experiences that have led me to discover many unique perspectives that I feel compelled to share. 

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