Its amazing the difference that mindset can make! I am frequently asked by people who know my family’s story, “How are you even standing? Why are you smiling? How can you even get out of bed in the morning?” And there have been times that I couldn’t stand, or smile, or get out of bed. That was okay for a while, because it’s a part of grief. At some point, though, I had to choose to get out of bed and join the world or die with the loved ones that I grieved. It was easy to become a victim, and for a while I did. I was angry…pissed off is probably a more accurate term for it. (See my Lament post) Why did God do all of this to me? Why couldn’t He spread the misery around a little? I screamed and yelled and cried out and even acted out. I did and said things I never thought I would in my misery. Understand that there is nothing wrong with this either and I realize now that it is a part of grief as well. I believe that the key to resilience is not to stay there, though.
At some point, playing the victim became exhausting. In an attempt to make sense of it all, I began to examine my life from the perspective of an observer, looking at my life as God would instead of from usual self-centered perspective. When I changed the way that I looked at things, my mind shifted and from a distance I could see the good that could come from it all, the people that could be touched, the lives that could be changed if I stopped being angry, moved forward, and allowed God to work in my life. Suddenly I could feel gratitude for the love I have had in my life, for the people I have loved enough to miss and I could feel hope for the future and joy again.
Do I wish things had been different? Do I wish Mom, Dad, Ellis, and Branson were still alive? Of course I do! God can and IS using the pain for good, though. God’s plan is bigger than mine and I am given an opportunity to play my small part in it. The choice of taking that opportunity is up to me. I am grateful that I have loved deeply enough to miss the people I’ve lost; thankful to still have my precious children, friends, and family; and I am excited about the path I am on now. Romans 12:2 says, ” Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” The pattern of this world is selfish, it is unkind, it is unloving. When we shift our minds to look at the world through the lens of gratitude, kindness, and love, we can see things more as God sees them and we can see more clearly the path that we must follow.
Credit for the image goes to Dr. Maryska Taylor at http://www.drmaryskataylor.com