Before the reward there must be labor.
You plant before you harvest.
You sow in tears before you reap joy.
— Ralph Ransom
In the midst of tears and grief it is hard to remind myself that the sun will shine again, the rain will stop and the grief will diminish. I have learned that in some cases not to expect grief to completely go away. When I was in my younger days I fell in love several times. And as goes with my unhealed emotional state I fell in love with men who were unable or unwilling to love me back with the same ardor that I had for then.
As a child of an emotionally unavailable father, I inevitably was drawn to men who were emotionally unavailable, who used me up and tossed me aside without a second thought and tended toward extreme control. The one man who actually fell in love with me before I did for him scared me so badly (because he loved me so deeply) I ran away from him as fast as I could.
I digress; whenever I was casually tossed aside by a boyfriend I went through all kinds of grief and pain. And, while in the midst of it I felt like I wouldn’t smile again or laugh or find someone else or wanted to die, I would eventually make it through to the other side and perhaps because the love I had for them wasn’t soul-deep, the grief went away and after a while I felt no sorrow toward their loss.
But the loss of a deep-soul loved one hangs around and never really goes away. My maternal grandmother has been gone for maybe 10 years, more or less, but the pain of her absence in my life is still there. It is not as intense as it used to be, but it remains. I lost a cat probably 20 years ago, one that I loved so deeply (not that I didn’t and don’t love all my furbabies, it’s just that Norman was special) and in some measure still grieve his loss. Maybe it was because he just disappeared when he was only 5.
Some grief goes; some stays. How I respond to that grief is up to me. There is joy in the midst of grief if I am able to find it. I’m not going to pretend I know what it is like to grieve the loss of a child or a beloved spouse. I don’t know and will never know. But it doesn’t mean I am immune to grief. And it doesn’t mean I can’t learn from it.
God can use the events in our lives to purify our hearts and minds and souls. I must allow Him to do so. I will be all the better for it.