Today’s post is based on chapter 7 of my book, Newness of Life.
How Grief Ushers in Gratitude
For much of last year, guilt kept me focused on everything lacking from my relationship with my mother—all that I so desperately wanted but never got from her.
One day, while talking to a friend, I off-handedly described my malfunctioning cell phone as “invented by the devil to make Christians swear!”
Then, I began to simultaneously cry and giggle.
I hadn’t heard that expression in years, not since well before Mother’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis. Hearing myself speak her familiar words caused me deep pain yet gave me untold comfort.
I began to notice dozens of little ways in which I’m a lot like Mother:
– The way I “clean as I go” when cooking.
– The way I purse my lips when I’m annoyed.
– The set of my jaw when I’m determined.
– How much my hands look like hers.
– How fast she taught me to walk.
With each new memory come three distinct gifts:
Permission. As I give myself permission to finally grieve—to cry, to wish for what I’d never had, and to miss my mother—guilt loosens its grip.
Compassion. As my guilt subsides, my compassion toward my mother grows. She did the best she knew how to do in the face of myriad difficulties I’ve never known.
Appreciation. Remembrances of my mother are coming back sweeter and sweeter, because I’m intentionally looking for what I can be grateful for in each one.
Over and over again, in a healing cycle:
My overwhelming grief transformed, by God’s grace, into overflowing gratitude.A healing cycle of grief: permission, compassion, appreciation. #newnessoflife Click To Tweet
Wasn’t that a beautiful reflection by Cheri? Please leave a comment below on how it affected you.
Now, a special treat about dancing…a memoir poem from my childhood.
Codfish Ball, age 4
Mommy takes me to tap lessons.
I love the click-click sound
of my shiny black shoes
on the wood floor.
We practice and practice
our song and dance
for the Codfish Ball.
My teacher says
we get to perform
for our mommies and daddies.
We get sparkly green leotards
so we look like fish.
Mommy even lets me
wear blush and lipstick.
I smile big for the picture.
When we get to the show
we wait behind a curtain.
I got a peek of what’s out there—
lots of dark faces
and a very bright light.
Suddenly I feel tears.
I don’t want to go!
I don’t want to dance and sing
in front of everyone.
But I practiced so hard
and Mommy wants to see me.
Teacher sees me crying
and sends for Mommy.
I don’t want to cry
but I can’t help it.
Mommy asks, if I go
right behind Teacher
would it be okay?
I will try.
Mommy wipes my tears away
and fixes my blush.
It’s time to go!
The light is so bright
and the faces are so dark
but Teacher is right beside me
and I go first
with all the other girls following me.
I pretend I don’t see anyone
and I just sparkle and dance.
What blessings have you unexpectedly received in a season of grief?
How can you praise God today by simply sparkling and dancing?
My book Newness of Life will help you apply Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 so you can understand God’s plan in your current season.
“There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens.” Ecclesiastes 3:1 NIV
No matter what season you are in, God is teaching you valuable lessons to grow your faith and trust in Him. We will discover what God is saying through the different times and activities we traverse.
By signing up, you’ll instantly receive the mini book 5 Days to Greater Peace. You’ll also have access to all the encouraging resources in my Library!
* indicates required