Jan. 7, 2012
I came across this verse in the Bible almost eight years ago while I was grieving the death of my son. During the first few months after the accident, I was unable to do much other than sit and read my Bible and write. I just surrendered to the grief, as wave after wave of immense, soul wracking pain threatened to wash me away and smash me to bits in a tsunami of tears. As I went through the process, there seemed to be two parts to my consciousness: the intellectual side that knew that my son was gone and nothing would bring him back; and my mother’s heart that was full of a thousand questions and irreconcilable whys. Why didn’t he look before he crossed the road? Why was the taxi driver that hit him so careless? Why didn’t he just break a leg instead of being fatally injured? Why? Why? Why?
The futility of these questions eventually began to sink in, as I came to terms with the unalterable truth, and nothing would ever change the fact that my son was gone. I will not see my son this side of heaven again, and I eventually came to see that my very happiness depended on my ability to accept the unacceptable. One of the things that helped me was this bible verse, which is found in 1 Thes. 5:18. I had trouble wrapping my mind around what this verse was saying, and argued with God, saying, “You have got to be kidding, how can I possibly be thankful for my son’s death?” However, I quickly saw that being grateful in a circumstance was not the same as being grateful for the circumstance.
The reason that my faith is so enduring is because I have tested the precepts in the Bible and found them to be powerful. Every time that I have trusted God, He has proven His unshakeable love and grace. I swallowed hard and decided to take the faith plunge as I decided to depend on Him to take care of me, and I said a prayer of thanks that went something like this: “Father God, I will never be glad that my son died, but I trust you and give thanks to you in the midst of my sorrow.” As I prayed this prayer, I felt a significant shift within, some of the blackness began to lift, and I started to see God’s goodness, love and mercy that had been buried all along in the depths of my grieving .
Surviving such a devastating loss holds within it the gift of gaining a greater perspective on life. I have found that the usual things in life don’t usually faze me, as most challenges are insignificant in comparison to losing a child. I have also been given the blessing of greater appreciation of the small moments. I have learned only too well that the people that we love are transient, we cannot hold onto them no matter how desperately we wish to. Our children grow up and leave us in one way or another, friends sometimes move on, parents die, and families change. I try to savour every experience as if it is my last, as I know only too well that it may be.
In spite of these valuable life lessons, seven and a half years later, I occasionally find myself getting grumpy about silly little things, and forgetting to be grateful in all circumstances. My challenge to myself for the New Year is to practice gratitude, no matter what my circumstances. I intend to blog on these situations and to share how this attitude impacts the situation. I challenge those of you who might read this blog to do the same and add to the discussion on this blog so that others might see how gratitude in all circumstances impacts your life.