Sunday, September 13, 2015

Anticipatory Grief (Daily Grief Part 6)

I've seen a couple of blog posts recently about anticipatory grief. The definition has to do with grieving over something that is on the horizon, but you do not know when it is going to happen. Dealing with what might be is almost as difficult as dealing with what is. I remember this type of grief when we first learned that something was wrong with Trenton. I was around 32 weeks along at the time. The next 7 weeks seemed so long as I look back. By the time he was born though, somehow we were at peace about the situation, and we were hopeful that things would at least not be any worse than we expected. Anticipatory grief ends where actual grief begins.

Those who have cancer know anticipatory grief. Whether they are in remission or in the midst, the anxiety in the back of their minds is a type of grief. Those who have chronic illness know this. Those who have children with undiagnosed conditions know this grief. There is something about the ominous unknown that can bring about anticipatory grief.

As Christians, the way we deal with this grief should be different. Maybe that is why by the time Trenton was born, my husband and I were at peace about it. Anticipatory grief is basically anxiety, and God tells us to not be anxious about anything. He tells us that in everything by prayer and supplication- along with giving thanks to make our requests known to Him. In this, He promises peace. It does not really leave room for anticipatory anything other than hope. The God of hope doesn't want us to live in the what ifs. It's easy to do so, and I am not above it. I write with the full knowledge of this type of grief. May each of us strive to look ahead with hope in Christ rather than fear and dread of the future.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Joy in the Mourning (Daily Grief - Part 5)

Two posts ago, I shared the verse that mentions weeping enduring for a night but joy coming in the morning. I think there is more to be said about this verse. 

Grief is something that is difficult to describe. It's different in each individual circumstance and it varies by each individual as well. 

I remember being a young girl in college having broken up with my fiance. I remember that it felt like the end of the world. I truly was grieved over my circumstance. I sought the Lord continuously, and the His Word was the only thing that brought me joy. I wept many tears.

Fast-forward ten years, I was married, had a 3 year old, and gave birth to a new son for whom we had prayed. We had prayed for him to make it when we were fearful something was wrong. We prayed for him to be normal when we feared he was not. We prayed that the doctors were wrong. We had faith that all would be okay. He was born, and he wasn't okay, but he lived. There was a different grief then. At the time, I didn't see it at as grief, or I would not have called it that for fear of hurting those who have actually lost loved ones.

Today, I can call it grief. I see that it is the grief of disappointment over what we expected. Yes, we have our son, and he is wonderful in his own way, but before we saw anything hopeful, there was grief. The night of grief is not passed. Although we often have glimpses of the morning. 

Our joy comes in the mourning that we experience; for if we never experienced that night, we would never see the brightness of the dawn.

This verse as a whole uses opposites to emphasize a truth. The truth is that when we have known the worst - the opposite seems all the more beautiful. 

I had known a child who learned to play with toys and suddenly stopped playing, and now the joy of seeing him begin to play again is indescribably. The sorrow we experience when someone is disappointed in us is overwhelmed by the joy we experience at restitution. God does this in our grief. He gives us mourning, but He also brings the morning.