"Reframing" is a term I've become increasingly familiar with, the longer I've been on my bereavement journey. "Reframing" to me, means to turn a "sour grapes situation" of any kind into SOME kind of wine.
I was thinking the other day, that instead of calling it re-"framing"-- a better word is re-"matting." The wooden frame that calls the boundary shots is a given already. What makes our own take on the situation-- our "view"-- is how we "mat" the picture. What is surrounding the image we are looking at, can make all the difference! We CAN take out the old, drab mat and replace it with something alive and vibrant. Colorful, even. But first we have to get tired of looking at the old one...Change is hard. Especially changing to something new and different. And happier.
In the case of our childrens deaths...it is extremely hard to even view the frame. No mother wants their children's boundaries closed in and sealed up during their time on this earth. That particular frame is a given, though. We can't change what happened. The picture has already been painted... and the frame is now all encasing.
When my children first died, I could see nothing but loss in every picture that I had of them. Loss of my motherhood self respect, too! For example, studying a photo of Michael after the wreck, I saw the hole in the clean sock that he had on. What utter shame I felt! I didn't see the big smile--the clean face-- the plump well-fed cheeks-- the warm flannel shirt he had on (the sleeves so carefully rolled up --"Like a big man"-- someone once told me). I couldn't see any of it--even though I was looking right at those things--because I wasn't ready to see those "other things" yet.
It took me years before that hole in his sock stopped bothering me! Before I "forgave" myself for any and all motherly failings on my part, in general... Before I really accepted the fact that I was merely human. And made mistakes. Some big, some small...
But heck...even angels fell short of the Glory of God and sinned! Even Adam and Eve in the Paradise of God sinned! Our prototypes! I was in very good company!
Over time, and with God's grace and mercy, I realized that I did the best I could at the time, with the knowledge that I had. And I finally accepted the fact that I was human.
Over the years, when we're ready, and to keep our interest in life from sputtering out--I believe we need to try to see the "old" things anew...to "re-mat" the picture bounded by that hard wooden frame of our children's earthly death.
The mat around my children's pictures now looks like this in my mind....
with lush fruits and vivid flowers, all vibrant and still alive! ~~~~"He has made everything beautiful in its time."~~~~~ Ecclesiastes 3:11 (NIV)
"Never give up...Never give in!" I like that popular, commercialized saying-- because it echoes how I feel about winning the war on grief. The enemy (and when I say that I mean Satan) looked for an opportune time to defeat our Lord when He was feeling weak, tired and weary. He tries to give us the old one-two punch, also!
When I'm really tired out, I remind myself that's when the enemy goes in for the kill. I no longer pick that time to, say, finally delve into topics with my spouse that's bugged me for months... It's best if I just stop everything I can, rest and regroup... and refortify! I rebuild my arsenal of "ammunition" to fight the war of grief, and it's prerequisite to fighting ALL battles, I feel. It certainly helps us to fight our battles more successfully--feeling empowered and RESTED--rather than tired and risking "defeat." One thing's for sure over the years of bereavement...I've definitely had to think of myself as "a soldier." Remember though, Jesus has already won the ultimate "battle"!
There was an old TV commercial years ago that announced quite dramatically, "If I have only one life to live...let me LIVE IT AS A BLOND!!!"
I feel that if "I" have only one (earthly) life to live, then let me live it the most "abundantly" that I can!
For me, "abundantly" means focusing ALOT on the joy of Reunion during my earthly life. It has been a key to my survival. The fact that my children are NOT dead...their mortal bodies "are sleeping"-- but their Spirits are more fully alive than I could ever imagine. They truly LIVE.
Jesus tells us ..."I came that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." in John 10:10 ...(King James Bible)--Not only abundantly for us in THIS life ...but also for our children now transitioned. Theirs is truly an abundance beyond measure.
As bereaved Moms, we are not relegated to just plodding through life, merely grinning and bearing it... but it is possible-- through Jesus-- to live life... ABUNDANTLY!
~~~DEFINITIONS AND SYNONYMS OF "ABUNDANTLY"~~~ Amply; Profusely; In large quantities; Extremely; Galore; Plentifully; Amply Supplied.
..."I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." John 10:10 (NIV)
..."My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life."
John 10:10 (New Living Translation)
Jesus is our only Way to have the kind of joy that makes life "abundant!" If we ask, He will freely give us His joy...a grace-filled joy that is unlike any other. He spoke of this joy and His desire to share it with us-- shortly before dying from a gruesome, torturous death of which He was fully aware was waiting for Him. THAT'S the kind of joy I want! Only He can give that to us. A sustaining joy. One that can support us through the long haul of bereavement. All we need do is to ... "Keep asking and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete." John 16:24 (International Standard Version)
Love in Christ, Donna
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