The Problem of Time

in the context of grief and healing

Our years and days fall into cycles. The seasons repeat these cycles and human celebrations follow them. This circumstance can be very troubling for a person who is grieving. It has been for me. After experiencing the pain of remembrance that came with certain times of year, I developed a strategy. I told myself I would visualize my life as a forward trajectory of days, similar but different. Like siblings or cousins, these days would bear some resemblance to other days, but they would be unique.
For example, my church celebrates Halloween by inviting our community to a Trunk or Treat event during the day. Last year I participated and looked forward to seeing Steve afterward. This year he was gone. I thought about opting out. However someone needed help with a costume. He wished to be a door with the 95 Theses posted on it! (Lutherans celebrate the Reformation during this season.) He asked for my help, especially with the document. This would certainly be different. I had not attempted gothic lettering in decades, but decided to do it. I bought a flat ¾ inch brush and practiced. What fun! I practiced some more at church, creating a document that could stand for the 95 Theses in German. Not nearly as long as the original, and surely not in German, but at least it looked medieval, and I had the fun of creation.
I still mourn and weep, sometimes, but I also work on living in the present. This allows me to be open to hopeful messages from God (Sometimes these make me weep too, and that is good). For instance, yesterday I found a crimson bloom on an impatience plant I’d brought inside in the fall. I was surprised and encouraged to see this flower open in January of one of the coldest winters we have had in years.
God will surprise you. He may give you an opportunity to travel. He may cause someone to cross your path you haven’t seen in years. As you open your eyes and ears and drink it in, you will likely be blessed in the present moment.

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