We are still at the beach so you might think this post title means more beach pictures of the kids in the ocean. OK, there might be a few, but only to serve as illustrations for the following journal entry my good friend, Shelley, shared with me this week.
You see, Shelley and I are not only friends, sisters in Christ, and workout partners. We also now have a bond that can only come with shared grief. Shelley's father died this past March... almost a year to the day that my father died.
As with all people who have lost someone dear to them, we each have our own grief path to walk, unique to our own circumstances. However, the thoughts Shelley has put on paper this week, I believe, give a wonderful word picture to how God relates to us in our times of sorrow. My prayer is that whoever ends up reading this entry will be blessed in whatever way this ends up speaking to you.
Riding the Waves
My grief hits me in waves. Like being in the ocean, you are bouncing around jumping
up with the swells, then a big wave comes and knocks you over. Or you step in an
unexpected hole and go under. The salt water stings your eyes, so you can’t open
them. You stand up, hair in your face, you are trying to open your eyes, get the water
out of them, but another wave comes and hits you in the back of the head.
Is it possible to ride these waves of grief and have fun? I love to look out at the ocean
and see the waves, even see the rough surf when a storm is coming. But, can I ride
them and enjoy them,? Feel the adrenaline?
Kind of like when we would rent the blue rafts at the beach with the white rubber on the
ends. Dad would take us out in his plaid bathing suit and help us ride. He would hold
the raft, and then, when the wave was good, he would let us go. Sometimes we would
stay on and ride all the way to the shore, then drag the raft back in for more.
Sometimes, the wave would flip us. How I hated that feeling of being caught under the
raft. It seemed like forever. It was dark, I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t open my eyes
because it would sting. How will I get out from under the raft to catch my breath.
But, I didn’t drown. I would somehow make it out from under the raft. Sometimes I
would decide, I’ve had enough, and I would go play in the sand for awhile. Then later, I
would go back and ride the waves.
Maybe that is how grief is. It is easy to watch the waves, even appreciate them from
afar. But sometimes we have to get in them.
Sometimes, the grief can be predictable, we can see it coming and manage it.
Sometimes, it catches us off guard, knocking us over, and then as we manage our hair
and eyes, another wave hits us before we are ready. But can’t we use the grief to give
us a “great ride”? Can we allow God to put us on the blue and white canvas raft, steady
us for a good wave and let us go? Sure, the wave might knock us over, we panic under
the raft, but we don’t drown. However, we will never experience the thrill of riding the
wave if we don’t go in the ocean and get on the raft.
Sometimes, yes, we need to take a break and play in the sand, but I believe God still
stands in the water, in his plaid bathing suit, beckoning us to come back and enjoy the
--Written by Shelley Frye