Faith is believing in something you can’t see. I have faith in a lot of things but I have found my faith gets tested time and time again. Yesterday I had a great reminder of this principle. T and I go to grief therapy support groups. I started taking him last fall when he started to struggle in school. It is a place for him to be with other kids who have lost a parent. He doesn’t relate to kids very well and I thought this would help.
In order for him to participate I agreed to be in a group too; it has been an incredible experience for me. I am the veteran widow but I learn a lot from the people in the group. They are fresh in their grief. I love them and they are total strangers. It’s a weird dynamic but it works.
One thing about grief is that the stages are the same for everyone. The order in which they happen is unique. Anger is usually the one that comes up the most. It is normal to be angry at the universe and everything in it. Especially after the 6 month mark when all the compassionate people in your life start to pull back and think you have it together. I’m 3 years out and I still don’t have it all together but I’ve been given a thought that I’d like to share.
Everybody thinks they are in charge of their lives, we all have these grand plans for ourselves. When those plans don’t happen or are altered from what we wanted them to be; we become angry. Some people believe in a higher power and they start to think the higher power has it out for them. I had to learn that God had a greater plan than mine.
Faith is all well and good when things are going great but throw a little thing like death at people and suddenly they don’t have the strong faith they thought they did. I am a believer in God. Death increased my faith. I know I am not alone in this journey and that the higher power I believe in watches out for me. I talk to God in the car on my way to work each day. Yes, I’m that crazy chick talking to herself.
One of the things I’ve have really strived to do is build a relationship with God, one that is real. I can pray the standard prayers with the best of them saying the right things and using the right phrases but that is not the relationship I want with God. I want a friend. I want someone who I can call in the middle of the night and have a good conversation with.
God knows me, he knows my heart. He knows my fears, he knows the joy I feel. He knows how I want to be and how I really am. All of this was built on faith and believing he listens when I talk to him. I also believe in the concept that faith without works is dead. Meaning you have to put a little effort into what you believe in, just believing it isn’t going to help you.
If you have suffered a loss I find it helpful to ask myself what am I supposed to learn from this. I’ve learned a lot over the years. For example, a job that defines you is not a good thing. I had to lose a 20 year career to figure that out. What are you suppose to learn from losing a loved one? For me I had to learn how to live and feel. I had to learn how to help others in order to deal with my own loss.
I am grateful I spent so many years telling myself things would get better. We would overcome. It was through those small moments of faith that I built the courage I have needed to change and grow.
Faith is beautiful. Put it to work.