We need both grief and gratitude, even when there are miracles
Some unsolicited advice from a friend made all the difference
A phone call, the kind they ask you to sit down for.
A small-engine plane crash; a guys’ trip gone wrong.
But they were all alive.
Miracles upon miracles. But my husband’s face and body were shattered. Theres’s a 1% survival rate with these types of crashes, the inspector said later.
Neuro ICU, 13 hours away. My mom drove me all the way from Louisiana to South Carolina the next day. Me and the five-months-along baby boy in my womb. Six surgeries in seven days. Communicating with my husband via scribbles on an iPad. Hundreds of texts and emails barraging my phone. An incident early on in ICU where he reacted badly to a medication and I thought I had lost him. Michael there-but-not-there to take care of all the Adulting.
Then finally we were home. We faced the realization that we would probably need to close the young business we started because of Covid, the business I had turned my life upside-down for. And in a few short weeks, precious baby Joseph with his beautiful blue eyes and kissable cheeks and easy temperament arrived in time for Fall. He was the most remarkable, most perfect gift for our entire family.
It has been a profound past year and a half, featuring grace upon grace.
My family never missed a meal or a bill payment. Our family and friends have been so good to us. And to look at Michael today, you would never guess what he went through 18 months ago. He is walking and talking normally. He has braces right now along with two of our children. And we are finally starting to get back on our feet again as of mid-July, when Michael woke up to a signed contract for his first client for the new business he started. It was a year to the day that he got out of the hospital last summer.
Miracles upon miracles.
Perhaps not the least of them was this: the Holy Spirit sent a friend of ours who happens to be a Christian clinical psychologist to visit us a few weeks after we got home from the hospital, and something he said to me may have made all the difference.
We chit-chatted with Andrew through the evening, told him the Story, never got too deep. Because we were fine. Everyone was alive, after all. The doctors said Michael would walk again. We couldn’t complain.
But when I walked Andrew outside to his car, he hesitated as he opened the door and said this, out of the blue: Listen - just remember that you need both. Grief and gratitude - you need both. My patients who choose just one or the other to deal with their trauma…they don’t do well.
A year later, I wonder how I would be doing right now if the Holy Spirit hadn’t sent Andrew to visit us that night. I think I would probably have landed in that group of people who believe that if they’re having a hard time, they just aren’t being grateful enough.
I couldn’t have white-knuckled my way through the past year and a half on gratitude lists. I have needed permission to grieve, too. To recognize what has been terribly hard for me. Gratitude is necessary and surely draws us close to the Lord, but the experience of the inexpressible compassion of His Heart when we take our grief to Him…it’s a game changer.
Feeling our grief and taking it to God helps us be with Him as Person, instead of just an idea. I don’t know about you, but it’s hard for me to trust an idea with my life.
The past 18 months have been messy, blessed, extraordinary, miraculous, agonizing, game-changing, and irreplaceable in my faith journey.
I have needed both grief and gratitude, brought regularly and confidently to the Heart of God in prayer.
And I believe it’s made all the difference.
13 Sing for joy, O heavens, and exult, O earth;
break forth, O mountains, into singing!
For the Lord has comforted his people,
and will have compassion on his afflicted.
14 But Zion said, “The Lord has forsaken me,
my Lord has forgotten me.”
15 “Can a woman forget her sucking child,
that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb?
Even these may forget,
yet I will not forget you.
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