“Someone has said that one way to keep people from growing is to keep them from grieving and from forgiving.” Janice Hershberger, PCC-S, “Handling the Emotions of the Holidays”
First of all let me get this out there….our family would NEVER have chosen Alzheimer Disease as a path for our mom to journey.
But for whatever reason it is the path we found ourselves on with her. We wouldn’t have chosen it, yet growth came as we journeyed through it.
Everyone’s story is different but it seems we all have this in common: life puts us in places we wouldn’t choose to be.
Sometimes we get stuck there for a moment, or a season, or a lifetime; yet I am convinced there are amazing lessons to learn wherever we find ourselves…if we are willing to learn.
I’m also convinced that learning those lessons will put us on the path to freedom and, especially as followers of Christ, will give us the opportunity to speak into the lives of others who find themselves on an unforeseen path.
It’s why I believe that praying for a teachable spirit is a foundational prayer in our journey through life.
Lord, how do you want me to grow as I travel this path? Break down the barriers that are keeping me from seeing, learning, and taking the next step.
Grieving and forgiving are two steps that are hard for us to take because of emotional barriers we hide behind.
Anger, fear, discouragement, and pride are a few emotions that can keep us stuck. Avoiding and ignoring also keep us from moving through and beyond.
Robert Frost, whose poems I remember from second grade (thank you Miss Killian), penned these words many years ago, “The only way out is through.”
Are you stuck? What emotion most often colors your day? Anger? Fear? Discouragement? Pride? (do we ever admit to pride???) Have you ever seen a “color wheel” of emotion? Not surprisingly the emotion of “mad” or anger is colored red, sadness is blue (are you blue?), peace is green, capable is orange, joy is pink (I always suspected that joy was pink!) and fear is dark brown. Interestingly fear and anger are side by side. Perhaps it is our human nature to resort to the power of anger when the darkness of fear presses in?
I believe the lens we see life through is colored by our emotions.
I also believe that grieving our loss and forgiving whatever or whomever we see as the reason for our loss will help us to see clearly once again.
And when we see clearly we are best able to navigate the next step.
Everything that I have written today was inspired by a meeting I attended last night – a meeting that I am a part of because of our journey through Alzheimer Disease. Remember, that path we wouldn’t have chosen – it’s true, I would never have chosen the brutal disease for my mom or anyone I love; and yet I would not want to be without the lessons learned THROUGH the process.
Isaiah 43 reminds us “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you…because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you.”
Did you catch those words – WHEN…not if; THROUGH…not around; WILL not might – they remind me of the words Jesus spoke in John 16:33 “In this world you will have trouble; But take heart, I have overcome the world.”
Or as Isaiah 43:5 says “Fear not, for I am with you”.
Fear not – grieve, forgive, grow – the journey may be hard, but praise God, there is freedom up ahead!