For some of us, along with societal angst, fear, illness and loss (of income, dreams, opportunities), we are heavy laden with grief.
That makes everything harder when it’s most certainly already hard enough.
So while there may be fewer gatherings, parties, school activities and community events due to Covid19 you are probably already feeling some pressure to show up and be part of something, somewhere.
I want to take a minute to think about how important it is to make and maintain space for grief during this busy season.
You have to do it.
I know, I know-where to fit it in between all the other responsibilities!
If you don’t, though, the grief will out itself one way or another.
So may I offer the following practical suggestions for this upcoming holiday season?
Start each day (whenever possible) with a few minutes of alone time. Let those moments be the buffer between you and the day ahead. Don’t allow your mind to wander to your “to do” list. Sit. Sip the hot beverage of your choice and let silence soothe your soul.
Don’t overschedule your days (or nights!). Exercise the option of saying, “no” to things that are not really important or necessary. Just because you have done it every other year doesn’t obligate you to do it this year. Exhaustion always magnifies despair.
Try to balance busy days with not so busy days. The surest path to meltdown is traveling in the fast lane.
Let other people take on responsibilities-especially if they offer- and even if they don’t. Asking for help when you need it is a sign of maturity, not a sign of weakness.
Keep a pad and pen on your nightstand and jot down any random thoughts that you don’t want to forget before bedtime. There is no sense worrying about something you can’t address until morning and writing it down means you won’t forget it.
Make use of online everything. Have gifts sent directly to recipients. Order groceries for pick up. There are many ways to make life less hectic and more enjoyable. If you don’t know what’s available in your area, ask friends and family.
Plan for at least one recovery day for every large gathering/party/meal you have to attend. Some of us need two.
Don’t sweat the small stuff. If you are used to having matching everything, perfect centerpieces and gourmet meals it may be hard to lower your standards. But if there is one thing I have learned since Dominic ran ahead to heaven, it’s that the companionship of those we love trumps anything else. People rarely remember how you set your table but they will remember who sat around your table.
And if your heart is too tender to do anything but hold on and hope this month passes quickly, then do that. You don’t have to live up to anyone else’s expectations. Sometimes that’t the best we can do and that is OK.
Imagine being used to the modern convenience of electricity at the flip of a switch and then being suddenly plunged into darkness and disconnection.
Unprepared-no matches, no alternative fuel sources, no extra warm clothes for winter days and nights-just plucked from the world you knew and dropped into a world you didn’t recognize.
That’s what it felt like when Dominic ran ahead to Heaven. No warning, no chance to think through what life might be like, what changes I would have to accommodate, how I would need to face the days, weeks, months and years of his absence.
Eight years after her son ran ahead to Heaven, she’s joined him.
And I have to think that the step from earth to Home wasn’t a huge one for her.
I have never known a kinder or gentler soul in my life. She was always encouraging other hearts, always pointing others to the hope we have in Jesus.
She never preached, she simply extended grace and love that made it absolutely impossible for anyone to ignore the difference between her and most other folks.
I only met this sweet mama once face-to-face when she and a couple other waiting mamas came all the way to my house for lunch and an afternoon of sharing and encouragement. But our friendship continued long distance through Facebook and private messages.
Our mutual love of Jesus, children and children’s books wove our hearts together in so many ways.
I am convinced that the distance between her heart and Heaven is so short because she was already singing Heaven’s Song here on earth-calling grace, mercy, strength and hope to every heart she met.
I thank God for the privilege of knowing her and am looking forward even more to that Day when everything is redeemed, restored and renewed.
Rest well, faithful servant. Dance in the joy of your Savior. Hug your son. Revel in faith made sight.
We’ll be there soon. ❤
Let the beloved of the Lord rest secure in him, for he shields him all day long, and the one the Lord loves rests between his shoulders.