Joan Clayton: Religion Columnist
Losing a loved one is one of life’s hardest experiences. Shock, pain and grief deals a very cruel blow. The emptiness and loneliness can be overwhelming. The pain and agony of the broken heart pierces the soul. Familiar things at home are reminders of the loss. Will the pain ever stop?Can we be happy again?
To those who have lost loved ones I pray God’s Word ministers to you. Please know “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in “spirit” (Psalm 34:18 NIV).
“…Though I sit in darkness, the LORD will be my light” (Micah 7:8) NIV).
Little by little that light grows brighter, giving the bereaved hope and that hope ministers to the aching heart. God enables the memories to become sweeter.
“We believe that Jesus died and that he rose again. So, because of him, God will raise with Jesus those who have died” (1 Thessalonians 4:14 NCV).
The care and comfort from neighbors and friends helps soothe the pain. I’m grateful to live in a place filled with loving and caring people who help relieve the pain of a suffering soul.
I have seen family and friends go through this painful process. Watching those survivors has increased my faith. I have learned a lot from these courageous people and would like to share their coping skills:
• Keep up your circle of friends. This support system means more now than ever. Friends help to keep your mind alert and help to keep your sense of humor.
• Live only one day at a time. A brand new day still holds good things. You wound yourself by rehearsing trouble you perceive to be coming in the future.
• Practice finding something good in each day, no matter how adverse the circumstances there is always something to be thankful for.
• Work through the grief process. It is normal to grieve. Allow yourself time. There does come a time when we must go on living even amidst the pain. Plan little things at first. It won’t erase the hurt, but it will divert it and give relief.
• Be thankful. Be thankful for the time you had to love and to share. Be thankful for the children your love brought to each other. Be thankful that another day has dawned and the sun is still shining. Be thankful there are birds that still sing, flowers that still bloom and people who still care.
• Anchor yourself to the love of God. If God watches over the sparrow, and he does, he is certainly not going to abandon you.
• Know that at best, this life is only temporary. Knowing the Lord gives rest and that enables us to look forward to an eternity of peace where there will never be a separation from loved ones.
I heard a story of a little girl who was crossing the Atlantic for the first time on an airliner. Her father was the pilot. During the night, the plane hit some turbulence and the stewardess awakened the little girl and told her to fasten her seat belt because of the bad storm they were going through.
The little girl opened her eyes, saw the lightning around the plane and asked, “Is my Daddy at the controls?” The stewardess said, “ Yes, your father is in the cockpit.” The little girl smiled, closed her eyes and went peacefully back to sleep.
If God is piloting your life, he will give you peace and strength in the midst of the storm.
God’s child never says good-bye for the last time.
“And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, ‘Now God’s presence is with people, and he will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them and will be their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death, sadness, crying, or pain, because all the old ways are gone.’” (Revelation 21:3-4 NCV).