Sunday, April 7, 2013

Grief with a big side of grace and a heaping of forgiveness

I never imagined grief would involve grace and forgiveness. I mean, I knew God would give grace in our loss, but I never dreamt I'd have to. Selfish, but true.

The bereaved live buried under a mountain of grief and are so busy trying to navigate their way out of the dark, who would have thought that the journey of grief would require grace and forgiveness on top of it? Every hurtful (albeit well-meaning) comment after our loss was like a dagger to an already shattered heart. I learned quickly, however, that giving grace was a necessity if healing was going to happen. GriefShare was instrumental in helping us to realize early on that the intention of the comforter was not ill will. 

It takes truth to reveal grace and forgiveness. It's one of the reasons I believe GriefShare is so incredibly important; GriefShare shares truth. A heaping of forgiveness is necessary because grief is messy, and no one acts the way we, or others, expect. Grief changes relationships. Grief changes people. A big side of grace is needed because there is no handbook of plays for the bereaved or for the comforters. Grief is as unique as each individual.

It's now twenty months down this road. There is still ample room on the plate for more grace and forgiveness. I'd been wondering how soon it would be before graduation invitations arrived this year. This week ended the wondering. There are just no words to describe the sorrow. I know there is certainly no hurt intended in sending us an invitation to their son's or daughter's graduation, but part of me wonders, "Did you forget that Matt died? Did you forget that this is the year he, too, would have graduated?"

I had a good cry and then decided this is exactly the thing that requires grace and forgiveness. Grace because they just don't get it. And that's OK. It really is. Never in a million years do I want anyone else to experience this kind of loss. So I will choose to remember that the invitations are not sent with ill will. I will choose to forgive and not harbor bitterness. I will not focus on what I have lost or will never have. Instead, I will remember the truth. Matt is alive and this world is not our home. God's grace is sufficient for me. "An eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison" is being achieved for me. (2 Cor. 4:17) This life is short, and I am learning to count my blessings, to be thankful in all things.

I realize these situations are a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" sort of circumstance. I am aware that the sender may be conflicted about sending it. If they send it, it may cause pain, yet if they don't, they risk causing potential pain by excluding us. My advice with anything like this is to send the invite, announcement, or whatnot, but please include a note acknowledging that you realize this must be very difficult for them.  

I want to give grace and forgiveness despite the grief I am experiencing. I must allow the LORD to work in me and accept His comfort and remember that the things of this earth are temporal. As I cling to Him, I know that He will give me the strength to endure and the grace and forgiveness to extend to others because that is exactly what He has done for me.


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