Thursday, December 22, 2016
Today is the 32nd anniversary of the day my family entered Heaven. How different in attitude I am! Back then it was all about death, destruction and "never got the chance to" thoughts. Like a wounded animal, I slunk off to be alone and to protect myself from any further injury. Every single thing (except God) seemed to be a threat to me back then--a threat to further self-destruction. There was only so much pain my soul could take. I was saturated with suffering to the utmost degree. "Enduring" was surprisingly as much physical as it was emotional for me, back then.
I never realized emotional pain could be so severe. It really took me by surprise by its intensity. That is completely gone now. Now, I wish they were here but I wish even more that they continue enjoying Paradise.
God never said He'd keep bad stuff from happening to me after I was married and had kids. He did say He'd be with me through it all though, and He was. That was all I needed really, to get through my difficult bereavement --faith in the reality of God's being with me and loving me and helping me through it all. I let Him.
I'd had a previous shattering of my self; the upside being my faith in Him was increased tenfold because of how He helped me through all of that. Because of that first near-destruction, I came to believe that God knew what He was doing when He allowed that wreck to happen on December 22, 1984. I was able to hold up through this even more deadly-to-my-body-and-soul damage--the physical death of Tim (my husband and best friend of ten years), Michael, my toddler son and Lisa, my baby daughter.
Today I have their pictures in front of the lighted accent lamp I got creative with (by changing it's three small shades to something I liked better). That's one of the things that's really different after 32 years of bereavement--my ability to choose to change.
Initially I seemed to have no choice but gloom and doom to focus on. I was a Christian, but the pain I felt wiped away any feelings of joy at their presence into Heaven. I just wanted them back in the trenches with me. I guess it was some type of "self-preservation." I would have had to give of myself in order to have positive feelings toward their physical absence from me. I had nothing of myself left to give at that time. I was completely preoccupied with"me, me, me"--what "I" wanted--not what was far better for them. How could I survive without them? How could I heal without them? I guess it was only natural, to want what would help me be "whole" again and not prolong further agony for me. I think we're hard-wired to keep ourselves alive.
Over the years I've realized that "God of Restoration," (the term that mysteriously saturated my mind while recovering post wreck in the hospital), was key to my finding lasting peace. I've come to realize that, "so what if they/we didn't get to do this or that. God has allowed it to be thus --and I trust Him!" So much of what I lamented over were only earthly "joys." Joys that would have been in their lifetime repeatedly tainted with sorrow; the remnants of sin that forever tinges pure white with a sickly yellow cast during everyone's earthly lifetime.
I have witnessed so much sorrow, pain and suffering during these 32 years that I am grateful to God that they are FREE of all that! Any earthly joys they have not been a part of, I truly believe have their restorative counterpart in Heaven. Nothing's impossible to God! Jesus Himself called that place of rest and recovery, "Paradise." That's good enough for me, to have confidence that God has seen fit to "provide for" whatever Tim, Michael and Lisa didn't "get" to experience on Earth.
I honestly think that a lot of what we value here on Earth as being vitally necessary to have experienced, either is not really that important, or will have its maximized equivalent given to us in Heaven. The only thing that is truly important I feel, and what will be maximized in Heaven/Paradise is LOVE. And God's the expert when it comes to that department!
Trusting in God, I feel, is the single most important thing we can do to heal from the terrible pain of
bereavement. We can then grow in Love--and have what's most important in common with our physically departed ones. Loving God is where they are . . . and how to be with them again.
"And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. (1 John 4:16 NIV).
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