Monday, January 20, 2020

Survival

I've just finished listening to the book Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies and Why.

It's a fascinating examination of why some people survive wilderness accidents, while others don't. This isn't going to be a book review but one hint regarding the key to survival is that it's not about experience in the wilderness.

What I've been thinking about is the similarities between surviving getting lost in the wilderness or plane crash in the wilderness and surviving the loss of someone you love.

Wilderness survivors invariably accept their situation. They don't live in denial.   People who get lost have a strong temptation toward denial--saying they are fine, or the lodge is just over the hill that way.

Survivors acknowledge they are in trouble, possibly desperate trouble. I think, not seeking as a counsellor or a psychologist, that grievers need to get to the point of acceptance faster rather than slower. That's why I have always insisted on saying Faye died, as opposed to saying she passed away or some euphemism. Yes I believe in eternal life. But her body is dead, I will not see her again in this life.

And I admit to being lost without her. Life is not the same. And building a new life has been difficult.

Survivors take responsibility for their survival. They don't wait for someone to rescue them. They know that, when it comes down to it,  survival is up to them.

I think that applies to surviving grief. I have had lots of people reach out to me in my darkest times. I know there are people who love me and I am truly grateful for them.

But the reality is nobody can fill that aching hole in my heart. And I have had to face dark days alone. Rebuilding my life is between myself and God and His grace. Nobody but myself, with the help of God, can tend the flame in my heart. So I blame no one and ultimately cannot surrender to self pity.

Survivors see the beauty even in their fear and pain. People clinging to life on the side of a mountain have been known to see the beauty. It could be called glimpsing heaven from a seat in hell. People who don't have that perspective tend to die on their mountainsides.

I say that absolutely applies to my grief journey. I have to choose to see beauty whenever I can and to be grateful. Joy is available. Joy can be found. And I am grateful and I express gratitude every day.

Survivors chose to live and they are determined in that choice. People struggling to survive wilderness disasters actually often have a certain dual perspective of abandonment to never getting out alive but fighting for life as long they have breathe.

I choose to pursue life. I will know joy. And I will know new life again. I am determined. It may only be inch by inch and day by day but I will take that inch.

Soli Deo Gloria.

Friday, December 27, 2019

Purpose

As my second year without Faye draws to a close, on Jan. 17, to be precise it troubles me to acknowledge I'm still in significant measure lost. Yes I am. My life is still in a bit of shamble.

Hope and faith remain steadfast, yet I still feel like I'm driving in the fog. When I talk with other grievers I find many of us are still in the same place.

My emotions are fairly stable. I have happy days. In fact I have genuinely happy days. And more reasonably happy days than the opposite. If you would ask me how I'm doing I would more than likely tell you that I'm fine, or good, or perhaps I'd say I'm okay. And I would be telling the truth.

But yet I'm having trouble getting life in order and living with purpose.
My house is a mess and I feel like I'm still drifting through life.

With that in mind my one word for 2020 is purpose.

To explain I like to end every year, or begin every new year, with a single theme word. The word this is year is purpose. I intend to live this year with purpose. Beginning, of course with finding purpose.

Of course my intention is to live fully for the glory of God as the tattoo says "Soli Deo Gloria." But what that is supposed to look like for me, in particular, this particular year, has yet to be fully determined. But I will live with purpose. That might mean leaving some things behind while I pursue new purposes. Could be. Might be. But it does mean embracing life again.

And it does mean forgetting what lies behind and pressing on to my high calling. And yes I am firmly convinced good things lie before me. I will, I must, go where the life is and where the joy.

That sounds kind of vague and mystical perhaps. But it's time to live with purpose again. I must be determined in that.

As I've been praying and meditating of late I've been sensing a call to embrace new wineskins. Sounds a little frightening but I will do so. I need to live again.

Pressing on.

Monday, November 18, 2019

When My Heart Is Torn Asunder By: Phil Wickham

It's been a while

I haven't posted for a long time--50 percent because I'm feeling better, 50 percent because I've lost my discipline.
I would say I'm doing well emotionally, but my world is still upside down.
And so I press on.

Monday, September 9, 2019

Hiraeth

I haven't blogged a lot of late. Partially it's a matter of other priorities and partly because it seems the first part of my grief journey has come to an end. The sharp pain of sorrow doesn't trouble me so much anymore. And I am thankful for that.

But the journey continues.

I stumbled across the word hiraeth yesterday. Hiraeth is a Welsh word.  The definition is a homesickness for a home to which you cannot return, a home which maybe never was; the nostalgia, the yearning, the grief for the lost place of your past.

All that seems to sum up my present state. I can honestly say I'm doing well but underneath there is an almost unidentifiable yearning, or longing for the home I've lost. I still have my house, but the home that I had with Faye is lost.

And I yearn, to a new degree, for that eternal home where I will meet Faye.

And I press on.