Thursday, January 26, 2012

Perspective

Perspective is a funny thing.  You can look at something and be quite convinced that your understanding is accurate.  You can outline all the reasons that you are right, how others are wrong.  You are right. It's simple, black and white.  And then something shifts, you see the exact same thing in a new light; you have a new perspective.

shadow art
Grief is, perhaps, the greatest illuminator of all.  When something, or worse - someone, is lost you are forced to shift your focus from the tyranny of the urgent.  The mundane things of everyday life become even more mundane.  I've often said that there is a clarity that is the gift of grief - we are able to distill our lives quite effectively into important and unimportant.  Those of us who have received that gift, lived with it and love it have few occasions to share it.  Unfortunately - it seems the most effective teacher is, once again, experience.


Not a day goes by that I am not reminded of my sweet child in heaven. Yes, there are the obvious reminders - for instance when someone asks how many children I have (I always include Ian!) But more personal and painful are the subtle reminders. My perspective has changed on everything. For instance, when others see the following picture, they may think "what a great way to announce that you're expecting"

The bereaved mother in me only sees empty shoes. Shoes that my son never got to wear.

Or this one:
With comments like: "What a great idea! I want to do this with my baby's coming home outfit!" And all I can think of is "That's all I have to remember him by."

And sentiments like this:
Source: etsy.com via Noel on Pinterest
which might call to mind your sweetheart, reminds me of the love I carry with me always for my son.

My friend Laura used to be a little miffed by the joyful worshipers blindly singing "Blessed Be Your Name"



The lyrical inspiration is from Job. After he lost everything he said "the Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord." You can't rightly sing this song until you've experienced both sides of it. It is easy to sing and praise when all is well; it is quite another "when there's pain in the offering." The pain is what gives us the perspective. We sang this at Laura's funeral, and again at Ian's a few short months later.

There are so many positive things that come from this perspective - the view from 5 years down this long grief journey. Life does go on. Your heart will be forever scarred but it will not always bleed. You will be stronger and infinitely more capable of grace and mercy. You will recognize pain in others and may choose to share your own. I know I pray much more fervently now than I did before, and with more honesty, trust and humility.
I pray that you will allow the loss and pain in your life to give you a new perspective today.  And you will be able to identify with the Apostle Paul, and nod your head in agreement when you read:
Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.  James 1:2-4 

Don't stop - there's lots more good stuff...

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