On Sunday, our church started a series on what happens when your life is shattered. Pastor Bryan talked about the motorcycle accident that took the life of his wife back in June.
At the end of the message, a handful of people came to the stage and mentioned their own traumatic events. They included a woman whose sister was killed in an act of domestic violence just three months before, a man fighting addiction, a woman whose daughter had cancer at age 6, was cured by a blood transfusion only to contract HIV/AIDS and die from it years later, and Pastor Bryan’s sons talking about the loss of their mother.
We are sums of our experiences and nothing shapes us more than tragedy. Our reaction to grief may be the solution to change our future.
Let’s take it a step deeper. We are defined by our reaction to grief.
Train, research, workout, study, podcast, take notes, write books, do all you can to prepare and nothing matches the moment things all apart, that point you look in the mirror and realize something is wrong.
That diagnosis. That phone call. That argument.
The lines of demarcation that create our New Normal, the places that only exists as memories and warm summer afternoons, the ones we can’t go back to.
The starting point is knowing it is okay to grieve, to feel, to have the courage to face down what’s coming.
One of Val’s old coworkers is our age, married with two children, and starting chemotherapy this week for an aggressive form of cancer.
Her Normal has changed.
I wish I had a three-point summation, a quote, infographic, something to put a nice bow on this short run of thoughts, then I imagine her in a hospital bed tonight and I know that sometimes silence is the answer.
Presence is the answer.
Just being there, crying, holding hands and staying close. Sometimes that’s all we have.