Changed By Grief

It almost goes without saying that grief has been the most life changing event of my adult life. I was born again at 18 years old and Jesus saved me then. But now grief is the turning point in my life.

I know also that grief changes us fundamentally in ways we don’t understand. Sometimes I find myself chafing at people or places or things that I used to love or look forward to. What’s wrong with me? is the cry of many grieving adults. That is when I realize that I have changed. Friends don’t understand this. They want me to be like I have always been. My pastors don’t seem to understand this. They preach to me like I need to get off my butt and serve the Lord like I used to. I cannot do that. Even family, who also have grieved the loss of my wife, do not understand the changes in me. They want their dad back like he used to be.

The problem with this kind of change is it is unknown in many ways. I do not know who I am anymore. And I think it is permanent. I will not one day slide back into my old self. Part of me died when Kathy died. That part of me is gone forever. Part of my grief journey is finding out who I am now and for the future.

Faith, family, friends, future. Everything has changed. My struggles in life right now are because the world around me is resistant to the changes in me. But I have learned in Griefshare that self-care is my responsibility. No one will care for me or understand me except me and Jesus. And If He loves me He has a funny way of showing it.

Reliving The Past: A Good Option For Retirement?

As I get closer and closer to retirement age I find that many experts tell me that as I wind down my working days I need to branch out in more creative ways. One thing a lot of these experts agree on is thinking back to my childhood and thinking about what I used to love or dream about back then but never did and do that.

I like to think things through. What could a child dream of that would be satisfying to a mature wise and intelligent man today? Much of growing up is passing the milestones like school or driving or dating or marriage. So the thrill of discovery and achievement from back then is supposed to challenge and motivate and satisfy me today? I don’t see how.

I am thinking about the future, what I want to do now that I am grown up. Is there anything I left undone or gave up along the way that I could restart and try again now? A hobby, a relationship, a career? I am too old to go back to school with any realistic idea that I could learn something that would open doors to me. School would just be academic exercises for me. I gave 40 years of my adult life to my marriage and I am not too excited about starting over with someone new right now. Some hobbies or activities are too physically demanding even for me. So I am back to square one.

I never thought about this as a young man, what I would do when I got old. So I have no plan. Oh I live a good life with work and church and friends and family. But I feel like there should be something more than my narrow existence is providing. I am open to new ideas. I am thinking about this a lot some days. I want to do things before I am too old and worn out to do anything.  Any ideas?

Good Advice

I saw this on Twitter. I thought it was good and worth repeating. By @therealbanksy:

“5 things to quit this week:

-Trying to please everyone

-Fearing change.

-Living in the past.

-Putting yourself down.

-Overthinking.”

I retweeted it. I thought it was good advice.

Post Funeral Blues

I am surprised how sad it made me going to a funeral. I don’t like being sad. I shed too many tears in the years since Kathy died. I want to be happy, not sad.

I go to church to worship God, since it takes my eyes off of myself. No matter what is happening here on Earth, God has everything under control. I don’t always see that in reality, but I believe it.

So I won’t boo hoo here on you. But it is just a part of life that loss is hard no matter who or what we lose.

Funeral Thoughts

A lady in our church died recently. She died on my birthday, but that is neither here nor there. What was significant to me is this is the first funeral service I attended since my wife’s in 2014. I have been afraid to attend a funeral service since then, even when it was for people I knew and loved. It has been one of the lingering issues in my life that are grief related.

Funerals are not joyous times in the best of circumstances. Even if the person is now in Heaven, we feel the loss. I was struck today by the brevity of life. Here was this dear lady’s life played out in memories and eulogies and it seemed that life is so short. Most of us do not do heroic or memorable things in our lifetimes. But still I was moved by how little we remember about people once they are gone.

This lady had been very sick and so she was out of sight, out of mind for many of us for the past few years. I remembered her by the pictures and by the people who spoke on her behalf. She never married. She was a good Christian woman. And she died at home, just like Kathy did.

I am not going to go on and on about this. I am a little sad right now since it has not been that long ago that I said goodby to my wife of 40 years. She had no husband or children to mourn for her. But there are people who loved her and they will grieve.

Good bye Sidney. Tell Kathy I said hello.

Leaving The Rest To God

I need to go get some coffee and drop a few things off to donate, but the laundry is getting finished and the bathroom is clean. And I have no money to go shopping, so here I sit.

It is a beautiful day here this morning. Not too hot or muggy, a nice breeze blowing. I’m listening to the wind chimes just outside my office window. Nice. It’s 75 degrees here at 10:30.

I get stressed out about my current situation. I have been here too many times before. But it occurs to me that in Heaven God and the angels are not fretting or wringing their hands over me. They are not having emergency meetings on what can be done for old what’s his name in Arizona.

So today I will do what I can, and leave the rest to God.

Now Is The Time

Do you ever get tired of just getting by? Of scrimping and scraping and borrowing from Peter to pay Paul? I do. I am tired of making plans and then throwing them in the trash for a lack of money. I could go see my granddaughter this weekend but I have no cash to pay for the short trip. This is unacceptable.

I am putting God to the test right now. His name is at stake. His character is on trial. Either He will do what He promised or He is not trustworthy. He cannot always blame the results on me.

Faith takes God at His word. I am taking God at His word right now. When the Lord comes through I will give Him praise right in this spot.

What To Do When It All Falls Apart?

I have written before on the topic of grief how that those of us who are grieving need to educate people around us and we need to protect ourselves from further hurt. We need people’s help but we don’t need people’s unwanted advice or pressure. We all deal with this and in time we all work this out.

But what do we do when the things that hurt us the most are also things or people that we hold dear and count as important in our lives? What if church is the source of the only hurt and lingering pain you are feeling? What if it’s our pastor who in trying to set us right reopens old wounds or says hurtful words? I am dealing with this right now.

I am a Christian. I have gone to church three times a week for a long time. I have been involved in church outreach and ministry for many years. And now I feel like a stranger in my own church. And the person who I used to go to for help and counseling is the one who has hurt and offended me the worst.

I hope this isn’t seen as airing my dirty laundry. And that you are not surprised that church people have problems too. But it is hard when a one size fits all solution doesn’t fit me.

I have thought about changing churches. I have thought about just dropping out of church. I don’t know what to do right now. So if you are a praying person, say a prayer for me. And if you don’t believe in God, think a nice thought for me. Because my thoughts are not nice right now and my prayers are ignored in Heaven.