This time of year is always difficult for my family. Over the past few years we’ve lost loved ones at this time and each year we are faced with the challenge of remembering those losses and reconciling them to the future. On good days I can smile about the memories the melted snow and budding trees bring. On bad days my mind churns over sadness about those losses and fear of the possibility of future loss. Sometimes that fear is for others and sometimes it’s for myself. Sometimes it’s so gripping it takes the air from my lungs. Sometimes the grief is overwhelming. Anyone that’s felt the grief of loss can probably relate.
Grief from loss isn’t always about death however. At least not in its usual context. We can experience grief over the loss of a relationship, the loss of security, the loss of a job, even the loss of time. Parents may feel grief over the loss of young adults moving from home. Children may feel grief over the loss of their parents marriage in divorce. Someone who’s lost a job may feel grief over their state of being unemployed. Bankruptcy or a business failure may cause grief over lost finances. Loss isn’t always over a negative circumstance either. Sometimes people may feel grief over an athletic career that may no longer be possible now that they’ve graduated high school. Or the loss of being the big fish in a small fishbowl. It is superficial to compare one loss to another and measure the impact as being more difficult or painful in one instance versus another. We all feel loss at one time or another and my loss may be just as trying and impactful to me as losing a job is to another.
On those days when I’m struggling with the pain of the past, I’ve learned to set my thoughts on better things. Jesus says in Luke 9:60, “Let the dead bury the dead”. This euphemism means let people who aren’t living (those stuck on the past), continue to dwell in the past (circumstance that can’t be changed are dead). In this case death refers to loss. It’s similar to the idiom “beating a dead horse”. It means stop going over something that’s already been resolved. The Bible tells us Christ died to bring us resolutions to any and all wounds, that includes mental, and emotional as well as physical. By His stripes we were healed. It has been resolved already. The past is the past and should be left there. If you’re struggling with something in your past that you feel hasn’t been resolved maybe it’s time you move on and allow God to resolve it for you. I’ve discovered that living in the past keeps me from hope for a good future and joy in the present moment. Don’t keep going over your loss to the point that you can’t live today. It’s ok to remember and keep memories of lost ones, or old times but it’s not ok to live in that place of always being in the past and not appreciating the present. The Bible says that God has given all who grieve a crown of beauty for ashes, joy for mourning, and a garment of praise for a spirit of despair. In Dueteronomy 30:19 it reads “…this day I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Choose life so that you and your decendants may live.” I learned that we have to choose to live, it takes a conscious decision on our end to enjoy life. Everyday I have to commit myself to being happy. The more I do it the easier it gets, the less I have to think about it. After all isn’t that what our loved ones would have wanted for us? Today I challenge you to choose life.