A new perspective in grief

Typically, the beginning of a new year has always prompted in me a fresh resolve to begin or recommit to a resolution that fell by the wayside long ago; usually a casualty of the inevitable hurly burly of life and the big beautiful mess that it so often is. The turning over of a brand new calendar page will evoke in me an optimism for the year that lies ahead. I am an optimist at heart and therefore am hopeful that a new year will be a little better. Summer has naturally been a time to take stock and plan for the year ahead.  However, this year I’ve approached things very differently. The events of the past 18 months have left on me a big heart wound. Last year was filled with so much sadness and grief, one does not simply turn the page and move on as if all that was in the past has no lasting impact on the present. While the end of a year naturally brings to a conclusion some things, feelings and emotions are a little more elusive to box up. Rather than resolving to do and be someth

"What are you core values?" A helpful question to ask yourself

In an attempt to return my spiralling mind to a more helpful headspace, I was recently encouraged to think about my core values. I have engaged with these thoughts before and found it a beneficial exercise; seeing how my life choices are a reflection of what I truely value and then how these choices impact my day to day life. Sometimes I feel like I’m living life on autopilot; not thinking too deeply about why I’m feeling a certain way, or spending my time on certain things, I’m just doing life in the best way I know how. But with a spate of health challenges, both for myself and the family, and a growing problem with not being able to sleep…I was feeling at the edge of myself. Fatigued and jangled. It was time to stop, and revisit what I valued most and why.

So I began to think, “What do I value, that I give my time, energy and resources to that reflects what I treasure?” I didn’t need to think to hard about this question… I value relationships. My relationship with God, with my husband, my children, my family and with my friends. I value people, therefore, I give the majority of my time, energy and resources to loving others and building relationships. So, when relationships are hard, and loving others is hard. When others are hurting or when I am hurt by others; I am affected greatly, mentally and physically. My natural response is to wrestle and worry about how to set things right; how to improve this relationship_ to forgive, show grace, let go and keep loving.  

A friend of mine, once said in a sermon, “Love is inefficient.” This statement has always stuck with me…meaning loving others is never about loving on my terms and my conditions. Loving others is costly at times and doesn’t always fit into a neat little box. My efficient self was becoming frustrated. I was frustrated at how much time I was spending waiting for doctors, blood tests, scans and treatments; the amount of time on the road driving to and from appointments and the length of time talking with health care professionals. All in the pursuit of caring for the health needs of my family. I saw all these things as an inconvenient interruption to other important tasks I wished I to be doing. I resented the fact that healthcare for my family was so time consuming. Yet…because I value people and their well being, I naturally was going to do these things. So why was I so frustrated?

To raise resilient children, you have to be prepared to embrace the reality that fostering relationship with them will be costly (not just financially) and messy (literally and figuratively). They are not robots that you can program to operate a certain way. They are not clones of yourself; you may see yourself in them, and they in you. However they are unique individuals, growing up in a different world to the one you grew up in. And life has a habit of throwing us curve balls; things we never planned for or imagined could ever happen. To build that bridge between yourself and the other person may mean you have to sacrifice something else you value. For example: To build a bridge to my teenagers, often means chatting with them and hanging out at 9.30pm at night or even later. Not ideal for someone who values sleep and a quiet evening, however, sometimes I have to forgo that to maintain my healthy bridge into their world. (Though I am learning, to care for others, I must also care for myself. I do need good sleep to function, therefore some nights I have to say goodnight early.) 

As I have reflected on what I value most, I can’t help but think of Jesus and what he valued; how he lived his life and what his purpose was. He too, valued people. There are countless stories in the bible of many people who came to him with their sickness and their troubles. He could have seen them as an interruption, but he didn’t. He didn’t turn them away or get frustrated by their demands. He showed them love and healed many, he spoke with them and ate with them. Telling them the gospel (why he had come) and walking alongside them. All this was part of his journey towards the cross. Jesus is who I want to look to, when I think about how I want to live and what I want to value. In looking to Jesus, and rethinking why I do the things I do, my discouragement and frustration begins to pale. 

What do you value most?


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