Friday, May 17, 2013

Staying on track

[en-door, -dyoor] Show IPA verb, en·dured, en·dur·ing.
verb (used with object)
1. to hold out against; sustain without impairment or yielding; undergo: to endure great financial pressures with equanimity.
2. to 
bear without resistance or with patience; tolerate: I cannot endure your insults any longer.
3. to admit of; allow; bear: His poetry is such that it will not endure a superficial reading.

verb (used without object)
4. to continue to exist; last: These words will endure as long as people live who love freedom.
5. to support adverse force or influence of any kind; suffer without yielding; suffer patiently: Even in the darkest ages humanity has endured.
6. to have or gain continued or lasting acknowledgment or recognition, as of worth, merit or greatness: His plays have endured for more than three centuries.

This grief thing. It takes endurance. Like it or not, there are lessons to be learned from grief. This is one of them. Getting through Mother's Day took endurance. I honestly never thought of myself as a strong person (Yes, I know those of you out there who know me well are snorting right now and thinking, "What?! Are you serious?"), but within the last couple months, I am realizing I am strong. Strong in the sense of developing a thick skin, so to speak, when it comes to certain things. Things like Mother's Day and my birthday, for instance. Last year they were excruciating. Though still painful, it's a bit like physical therapy in that I am strong enough now to endure those events. Painful, but stretching, strengthening, and endurance-building as well.

The loss of my son is just as deep and irreversible as it was the morning of July 29, 2011, but the pain has receded enough that I can now acknowledge and recognize joy. Color is slowly returning to my world.

A friend recently posted on her FB asking, "What does joy really look like?" What does it mean to be full of joy? I came across the following blog post by Kay Warren, referring to joy: (click on the link to see the full article.)

"Joy is the settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of my life, the quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be alright, and the determined choice to praise God in every situation.
You’ll find nothing in that definition about happy feelings, because, as we all know, happiness is fleeting and temporary.
We tend to think that life comes in hills and valleys. In reality, it’s much more like train tracks. Every day of your life, wonderful, good things happen that bring pleasure and contentment and beauty to you. At the exact same time, painful things happen to you or those you love that disappoint you, hurt you, and fill you with sorrow. These two tracks — both joy and sorrow — run parallel to each other every single moment of your life." 

Kay's definition is the best I've seen yet for explaining what it's like to have joy and grief coexist. Life before losing Matt was a series of hills and valleys for me. Now, it is the synchronization of joy and grief. I now have a "settled assurance" and a "quiet confidence" that I never had before. I did make a "determined choice to praise God" when I saw our son's lifeless body. It wasn't easy, but God is trustworthy. He is good, and He is love. What I need to do now is stay on track...because some day, those rails are going to meet at their ultimate destination.


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