Love and Loss

I’ve been pretty quiet for the past few months, but it’s been for good reasons.  School is intense, but I am doing well. There have been plenty of times I would have loved to share some insight to what I’m learning in my school counseling classes, but I haven’t had the time to put into a post the proper effort.

It’s been a year since I first began my blog, and although I’ve had a dry spell in posting, I haven’t given up. I hope to begin a series in January based on a devotional Bible study I wrote a few years ago. It isn’t anything too big, and it certainly wasn’t published. But, I put a lot of time and heart into it, and I think the blog is just the right place to share it a little at a time. So look for new things in January!

Right now, though, I just need to make it through the cold, dark days of the beginning of winter. I have never enjoyed the cold or short days. I much prefer the sunshine! At least the Christmas season is made more beautiful with all the lights and candles.

Mosaic Candles

This Christmas has been difficult for a number of reasons – but to sum it up with two words – loss and absence. The loss of one family member seems to bring to completion the loss of another, both of my in-laws are home together no longer dealing with pain and suffering. Bittersweet grief.

Our family is scattered, and this compounds their absence by not being able to physically be together and keep traditions. There are other losses that are difficult to handle because of the absence as well. Today, my mom undergoes surgery to have her foot amputated. I can’t be there.

So, here is a bit of public acknowledgement of praise and gratitude for peace, for love, for family, and truth.

My husband and I married each other 23 years ago. Our wedding was planned in just a few months time because we didn’t want to wait to get married, and I really didn’t care about too many of the wedding details. I just wanted to be married to him. One thing I wanted, though, was a small Christmas tree made out of tulle with a symbol of the present love and the promise of our future. Something that would be brought out each December to remind us of our wedding day and the love we shared. My mom helped me cut up her wedding veil and create this little Christmas tree. We glued small little “love knots” all over it, and each year, I put it out with our Christmas decorations.  The tree and the love knots represent to me the bonds between his family and me, our new family, and generations of love.

Anniversary Tree

My husband’s dad was his best man. His mom encouraged me, loved me, and provided wisdom that will be passed down through generations.

In counseling, there is a philosophy called “existentialism”. You may have heard of it. One of the things about existentialism is learning how to cope with being alone, the kind of loneliness that even when you are surrounded by others, you still feel alone. This philosophy resonates deeply with me because of all the times I’ve had to move. The times of not being known, the losses of friendships and opportunities to keep building relationships required I deal with existential issues.

Even now as back then, my source of strength is found through the promises of scripture.

In Matthew 28:20, Jesus tells the disciples in the great commission, “I am with you even until the end of the age.”

In a promise to Israel, God says, “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.” Isaiah 41:10.

I used to sing the words of an old hymn, “What a friend we have in Jesus” to get through some lonely times growing up. Amazingly, I just learned the story behind the lyrics include separation as well. Here’s a link to a brief background of the author, Joseph Scriven –

https://reasonabletheology.org/hymn-story-friend-jesus/

In the end, “love never ends” (1 Corinthians 13: 8). In all this loss and absence, I hold onto this promise.

As an adult, I have friends who are supportive and kind.  I am so grateful for them. I have family whom I love. The physical distance is irrelevant.

1 Corinthians 13: 12-13 “For now we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face.  Now I know in part, but then I will know fully as I am fully known.  Now these three remain:  faith, hope, and love.  But the greatest of these is love.”

I am grateful for the love that has existed in the past, the present, and the future.  Amen.

 

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