I am moved by events that happened today to some dear friends who experienced a tragedy. I know they are struggling with the pain that they must bear very privately, and how I wish I could take some of the burden from them. But I cannot.
So I thought I'd do a post on the daily inspirational message I read every morning, but on this particular morning, had such a profound impact on me. I hope that it finds its way to your heart somehow, either now, or when you stumble upon it some days or weeks or years from now.
The pain of leaving those you grow to love is only the prelude to understanding yourself and others.
I next read the message at the bottom of the devotional so I know where the message is taking me, and it read, “Today will bring both good-byes and hellos. I can meet both with gladness.”
I wasn't sure I was going to like this passage today. But I read on: Life is a process of letting go, letting go of conditions we can't control, letting go of people–watching them move out of our lives, letting go of times, places, experiences. Leaving behind anyone or anyplace we have loved may sadden us, but it also provides us opportunities for growth we hadn't imagined. These experiences push us beyond our former selves to deeper understandings of ourselves and of others.
So often those experiences that sadden us, that trigger pain, are the best lessons life is able to offer. Experiencing the pain, surviving the pain that wrenches us emotionally, stretches us to new heights. Life is enriched by the pain. Our experiences with all other persons thereafter are deeper. Instead of dreading the ending of a time, the departure of a loved one, we must try to appreciate what we have gained already and know that life is fuller for it.
My grandfather, who was probably the greatest man I have ever known, the handsome preacher who called on people to rise up above themselves, out of the flaws of this world for the possibility of a more perfect world yet to be, conducted my grandmother's funeral and called it a Victory Memorial. I can't quite go there today, especially in light of what my friends have had to bear today. But what he meant was that death wasn't the end of things.
It's a doorway to the next thing. We each see that doorway, depending on where we stand in connection to it, so that every person has their own perspective of it, experience of it uniquely their own.
My grandfather's message to us was that there were other doorways, and everyone has one we will enter when that time comes. Until then, life is to be cherished. Every minute of it. That we feel pain is evidence that we are alive, lucky to be alive, living amongst each other, and that there is sunshine ahead.