So it’s been a rough week. Some of my best friends were packing up their house and heading out of town off on a new adventure. This will be about the sixth set of friends we’ll be saying goodbye to this year, but probably the hardest for me. These were the kind of friends who become like family over the years shared together. As I was over helping them put all their belongings in boxes, laughing and making some last memories, the weight of the anticipated goodbye hung heavy over me.
The day after our “sappy” goodbye, with all the last minute important things said I was a big weepy mess. I kept wondering what is going on with me? Sure these were good friends, but why such a basket case Kelly? Get it together girl. I couldn’t sleep so I listened to the voice that told me to start writing and start exploring these feelings. That’s when I realized, the subconscious will always work it’s way to the surface, the question is, will you recognize it?
What I finally began to recognize was that my dad is dead and that this will be our first holiday season without him. Not only that, but the Monday after Thanksgiving marks the one year anniversary of discovering that his cancer had spread and knowing that our lives would not be same. Sure I was missing my friends, but really, I’m missing my dad.
Grief is an interesting beast to explore. It’s been unpredictable which I’ve learned from others is the only predictable thing about it. I never know what will trigger my sadness or how long it will decide to stick around. But despite that crappiness of it all, I’ve also learned that it can be a gift.
I’ve been learning to let the hole that was left in the wake of my dad’s death be filled with something new. We all fill the grief hole with something; busyness, food, stuff, isolation, etc. and trust me I’ve filled my hole up with some of those idols too. But luckily God and I had already started a journey a few months prior to saying goodbye to dad and my hole propelled me deeper onto that journey.
I’ve learned that sometimes we need to lose things in order to make room for something different. Don’t twist my thinking here, God does not cause deaths to happen on purpose, but he is a God of redemption, he is a God of walking the suffering path, he is a God who rolls away stones so that new life can emerge. Will we walk the suffering to reach the new?
On this journey, I’ve learned about what means to be hidden in Christ. The same as being clothed in Christ. The same as living into my true self. I miss my dad terribly but I’m also really enjoying getting to live into my new self and getting to live deeper into my identity in God.