Are you in the midst of a storm season that has you grasping for any sense of normalcy? Have you just come through a chapter of unpredictability and disruption? Perhaps you are walking with someone who has had the rug pulled out from under them and you don’t know what to say or do? I’ve been there. I can relate and you are not alone. I need you to understand that it won’t always be like this. It won’t happen overnight, but gradually and steadily, you’ll look up one day and the raw, throbbing, torment of pain would have ebbed into a dull ache that you notice only sometimes.
Does it ever totally go away? I’ll be honest with you, in my experience, I’d have to say no. However, although the evidence of your interruption remains, your response to it is what changes. There are days and periods of time where I don’t live in the shadow of the hurt and anguish that entered my world that January night in 2009; the sun is shining and all I see are puppies and rainbows. Then, there are brief snippets of space where it comes rushing back; triggered by someone else’s loss, a broken relationship, or a special anniversary. You can’t control it, but you’ll learn to thrive in spite of it.
I promise you, it won’t be like this always.
Everyone experiences a season of disruption differently. Don’t compare your reaction to someone else’s. Give yourself time- be patient with your response and allow all aspects of your journey to play out; you can’t avoid it, so submit to all of your feelings and emotions. Are you angry? It’s ok. Still crying? Understandable. Stunned into silence. Been there. Full of questions? Not a surprise. Enraged at God? I was too. Afraid of the depths of your emotions? I get it. Want to be alone? No problem. There is no cookie-cutter response to discomfort. There is no 5 step “cure.” The only way past this is through, so give yourself grace, but don’t try to avoid it.
I want to encourage you. I’m standing today on the other side of something that I was sure I’d never recover from. However, I did and you will too, in His time and at your own pace. What happened has changed you forever; you might not understand exactly who you are or what to do right now, and that’s ok. Take it one step at a time and remember you don’t owe anyone an explanation or rushed recovery. These are things I wished I had realized as I walked through my painful disruption. Don’t put so much pressure on yourself or whomever you’re supporting.
Tragic triumph. Painful strength. Newlywed widow. Some words just weren’t meant to go together. Oxymoronic in nature, they stand out as an anomaly. The brutal pairing grabs your attention, and you can’t look away. So much can change in an instant. All it takes is one phone call, text, or in my case, voice message, and life as you know it ceases to make sense. It’s been almost a decade since my life took a turn that set into motion a course of events I never could have predicted. Just as quickly as I said, “I do,” I found myself saying, “I don’t…” As in, “I don’t understand what is happening. I don’t like this. I don’t want to say goodbye.” I planned my life ever so meticulously; I never left room for tragedy and painful life disruptions. Who does?
You Can’t Choose Your Story, But You Can Choose Your Response
I never wanted to be known as the woman with the sad story. I didn’t desire an identity wrapped up in my painful past. It took me years to finally grasp that my first husband’s death was multifaceted; it would launch me into another level of living with no fear, now that the worst had happened. I stopped being afraid. I wasn’t afraid to lose anymore. I couldn’t see it then, but today, I can now see that the road to purpose had to intersect with the avenue of despair and brokenness. No one envisions a painful path, but it is often through this rift from happiness, that you eventually encounter fulfilling aspirations and a platform that elevates and transforms both yourself and others. Quite simply, I wouldn’t be the woman I am today. I would not appreciate love and covenant the way I do now. I would not know what faith in action looks like. I would not be able to relate to others’ facing similar circumstances. My life doesn’t look anything like my original plan, but then again, I’ve begun to see that’s not always a bad thing.
If you can’t see that right now, it’s ok. If you’ve caught glimpses, I hope this aids you in finding clarity. No matter what, please know that there is someone rooting for your success and restoration.
I promise you, it won’t be like this always.