I spend a fair bit of time here thinking about and processing some fairly difficult experiences of bereavement and loss. These reflections these days often come out of conversations I've had with people who have recently lost loved ones. So I try to write for those in the midst of grief that is fresh.
For the most part, that is not where I'm at personally. I feel incredibly fortunate and blessed. I have an amazing spouse, Brenda. She is central not only to my recovering but also to my capacity for embracing the future. I am twice-blessed and dare not be so ungrateful as to ever complain about small struggles. She is an incredible partner in love, in life, in ministry and in our future.
I have an amazing family. Some of you have been with me a lifetime--either mine or yours. Some of you are relatively new to me and me to you. All of you make my life so rich and so wonderful. And I love you all. I cannot imagine my life without any of you at this point.
I have been given back my vocation, even though it's not entirely clear how it will work out in the long run. Of course, I'm not all that concerned about the long run these days. I have good work in the church and beyond the church. I have a better sense of the kind of person I need to be in order to serve well. We have the chance to make the world a better place now. And we have hopes and dreams for exciting and creative work in the future.
I remind my readers of all this because I know that hope and happiness come from the choices we make. It's not so much the choices about particular actions or paths. Instead, I am talking about the choices we make regarding how we feel, how we respond, how we make the most out of whatever it is we receive from life on a daily basis.
Those who are new to this grieving business cannot see past the next moment. I know that. Those who are new to this grieving business have trouble believing that anything but darkness stands in their path. I know that. Those who are new to this grieving business are entitled to your times of despair. I know that.
My experience is that it does not have to last. This too shall pass.