Peaceful Grieving

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

*This post was written in May & June of 2018…finally getting around to posting.

I’m writing today from a place of…peaceful grieving. I’m grieving over the end of a certain season, and I’m grieving over the end (for now) of a certain friendship. Both have taught me a lot about myself, relationships, and life. I’m also at peace because I know that both have served its purpose for the time being, on my end and on theirs. If I can go back, as painful as some moments were, I wouldn’t change the way I embraced the season and the friendship.

The Season:

In this season I became extremely jaded of cliques. I’ve always disliked them (maybe I never got over the trauma from early teenage years). I also became jaded of performances and regularly scheduled programs when it came to anything relating to spirituality. I call it my mid-Christian life crisis. I know that during this time, I made some unfair assumptions with my black-or-white, all-or-nothing way of thinking. But God also used this time to bring a spiritual awakening (I like to call it a “spiritual snap”) in my life. I no longer wanted to be complacent and comfortable with just staying within familiar boundaries, running our programs, and checking things off the list. I wanted something more, something different. I wanted a community like what I read about in the book of Acts. The community always had room for non-people and new people. I mean, not just invite them in to be part of a “program” but invite them in to be a part of their lives. Where ordinary people mattered. Where non-popular people mattered. Where people who were different mattered. The community made time and space for deeper (beyond-surface-level) connections to take place. My soul longs for this type of community.

It took some time, but I allowed God to transition my feelings of jadedness into a peaceful resolution. I knew that this particular season was coming to an end, and I believe I was able to end it well.

The Friendship:

This one took a long time to process. The pain is still fresh. One of the qualities that I believe that I have, that I always took pride in, is being a loyal friend. I was an only child, so I always valued close friendships. Once I feel that a deeper level of friendship has been established, I make a lot of effort to stay in touch and nurture the friendship. I’ve always said that my family and my friends are my greatest treasures. But sometimes, as in any relationship, unexpected curveballs are thrown and things get complicated. Wounds are inflicted on each other, often unintentionally. Both sides are left feeling hurt, rejected, and misunderstood. It’s hard. In midst of this mess, however, God is showing me something about myself – perhaps I took too much pride in my own ability to be a good friend. Sometimes, I’m not going to be the one who can be there to help. I’m not always able to be the “good friend” that I want to be for others. I realized with this one particular friendship, we are not in a place where we can share a healthy relationship with each other. However much I may want to, I can’t be the person who can help her at this time. What stings the most is that to her, it looks like rejection and abandonment from me (which is what I hate the most for someone else to feel from me). Again, God is reminding me to let go of the ideals I have created for myself, or what’s even harder, to let go of the ideal image that I want others to have of me. OUCH, this is so incredibly hard for me. Through this ordeal, I realized how much I care about what others think of me. God is helping to “prune” me so that I can cut off this need in my life. He is enough. How He views me, cares for me, and treasures me is enough…always. I don’t need to be seen as the “good friend” to everyone. I only need to remember Who I belong to…whose child I am.

His ever-sufficient grace is often revealed through our inadequacies. His purpose is often revealed when things don’t go according to our plans. His strength is made perfect in our weaknesses. I still believe, and continually pray, that God’s beauty will be revealed through this mess…in time.

For now, I am allowing myself to experience this peaceful grieving. Life is hard. It’s difficult to let go of our plans, our comfort zones, and our ideals. However, I look back on the previous chapters of my life, and as hard as it was to close some of them, God always had new adventures waiting for me. I am hopeful for the next chapters He has in store for me, for my family, for our new community, for our old community, and for my friend. My peaceful grieving will slowly transition into hope-filled beginning of a new chapter.

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