Old Testament Grief Connection
In recent months, I have been struggling with what I have come to see as a different stage of my grief journey. I wrote about that challenge in my last article. Writing that article, I thought I had turned a corner. I thought I had grasped purpose and was ready to move forward but the winds of hopelessness scoured my resolve from me and left me groping for … something.
DIRECTION THROUGH GRIEF
As I looked around me; at work, at writing, at yard or housework, the same lost echo would reverberate back to me… “what’s the point?” I found myself thinking often of the words of King Solomon (or one of his compatriots) who brought us the book of Ecclesiastes but couldn’t muster the incentive to delve into those poignant passages.
Then someone wise came alongside and helped me to unravel the listlessness, remember the foundations of my faith, and reach outward for the support I needed – the people who mirrored life’s reason – my reason, in their very being.
IN GOOD COMPANY
I finally sat down with my Bible and opened to Ecclesiastes;
“Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher. “Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.”
Man, I could relate! Further along the author says, “All things are wearisome, more than one can say.” I nodded, my heart keening in harmony to those words. Then I came to the ‘a time for everything’ passage. That is one we grievers are familiar with, isn’t it? It’s a trick of the human mind that these truths escape us.
We know full well that our passing from this Earth was assured in the moment of our first heart-beat – and yet we push that knowledge away. We understand without denying that life is a roller-coaster ride. There are dizzying highs and devastating lows. Each one of these is as much part of life as its opposite. Still, it is our nature to embrace the ups and avoid the downs. We get wrapped up in the minutia of life and ignore (on purpose?) the essential truths of living.
It is my firm belief that life is a gift from God, not a torment or a test. I think that God allows us to come to Earth because we want to – because we want to experience it all, as only humans can. And what an amazing gift it is! <snap> light switch moment. I need to set aside purpose or reason. Set aside inspiration or incentive. I remembered that I had to open up to life – every moment of life – as an opportunity to live!
SO MUCH MORE THAN ‘GRASPING AT THE WIND’
As I kept reading, I came to this gem of a passage at Ecclesiastes 3: 9-13, “9 What do workers gain from their toil? 10 I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet[a] no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. 12 I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. 13 That each of them may eat and drink and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God.”
I read that last verse over and over, letting it steep in my soul. From it came a mantra I’m using to carry me through this trying phase of grief. “Taste every moment of life as a gift from God.” While we are slogging through difficult times, it is so hard to remember that it is the moments, not the circumstances or situations of life that are God’s gift. God doesn’t gift us enjoyable and beautiful moments and require the bad as some sort of balance or discipline.
THE SAME VIEW FROM ANOTHER POINT
This concept must be one of the lessons I hope to achieve in this life because it keeps coming back to me. It changes shape and texture – the nuances are different, but it returns over and over. During another chapter of my story, I came across a parable in one of Neale Donald Walsh’s books. It is the parable of the little star, and it goes like this:
In God’s presence a multitude of stars burn with such intensity and warmth, the individual stars become lost in the glory of the whole. From out of the brilliance, one little star approached God and said, “God, my brothers and sisters shine so brightly that I can’t see my own light. Can you help me see my own light?”
God smiled at the little star and because he loves it perfectly, she wanted to give the little star the experience it wanted. God drew the star into their loving hands and released it into the darkest part of his grand creation.
For a moment the little star burst forth into the darkness and radiated its light. It basked in the magnificence of itself, adoring the way its rays broke through the darkness, leaving its mark; starkly contrasted against the black. As time wore on, the little star began to miss its siblings and the presence of God. The dark became oppressive, and the star felt so alone in its brilliance. Again, it called out to God, “oh God! Why have you exiled me to this horrible dark place?”
God gathered the little star back into her bosom, rejoining it with its brilliant family and said, “My dear little star, you wanted to have the change to see your individual beauty and because I love you, I gave you that gift. Welcome home.”
MY ‘LITTLE STAR’ NAME TAG
If only I could remember in this moment, in the moment of my loss, in the moment of my defeat, in the moment of my confusion that I am that little star, perhaps I would remember to admire the magnificence I am bringing here with my presence.