When people think about loss and grief, they tend to think about death. When things die, we grieve. Last year, my eyes were opened to the reality that grief is unfortunately a much broader term, a much more inclusive hardship than I had realized.
Sometimes, the loss of a relationship – even the change of a relationship – can be something we mourn and grieve. Even if the person stays with us in the life, and even with us in relationship.
Sometimes we have to let go of our expectations and desires for relationships. Sometimes it’s our husband, or a child, a parent, a sibling, a best friend. We have hopes and expectations of these people who are in our lives, and often we’re unaware that we even have these expectations.
It is when we see that those hopeful expectations are not being met that we realize what is happening.
Not until we are let down, hurt, abused, mistreated, offended, or disappointed again do we come to the realization that the relationship might never be what we had hoped for, what God had intended it to be. It is then that we experience real loss. Real grief, even without death, in the truest form.
- You might be a wife, submitting to the reality of your difficult marriage, so much less than what you had dreamed it would be, but unwilling to consider divorce because of your beliefs. Maybe you feel stuck, and you grieve your loss every day as you move through it.
- You might be a mom, letting go of a relationship with a daughter that you can’t seem to reconcile because something has become between you two. Maybe this flawed and broken world has left her unwilling for restoration and it’s breaking your heart.
- You might be a daughter, realizing that you’ll never quite receive the unconditional love, support, and approval that you always thought you had from your father. Maybe he cares for you, but it’s conditional. Maybe he has left you, or hurt you. Maybe he doesn’t approve of the decisions that he’s made. Maybe you never met him at all.
- You might have become estranged from a sibling because you can’t see eye to eye on something important. Maybe one of you didn’t make the choice to love each other without condition when things get hard. Maybe one of you took distance, and you are unable to close the gap.
Whatever it looks like, it’s clear something has died. It will never be what we long for, what we wanted, what God intended for us, and what seems right.
And so we mourn.
We mourn the approval, the emotional proximity, the unconditional acceptance, the unwavering support, the love-me-even-at-my-worst kind of love, the picture of what it should have been.
We may go numb, we may cry out, we may shut down, we may fall into a depression, we may hate ourselves for whatever we did to contribute to the brokenness, we may place blame, we may ball in a heap on the floor.
And then, like anyone who grieves, we are forced to move on.
And what we move on to is the one who loves us more. Unconditionally. Unwaveringly. At our worst. In the pit. He sees and knows us to the core, and loves us even still.
And His love, it keeps on loving. Our hopes, our expectations, are fulfilled and then out done. Every. Single. Time.
His love endures forever. | Palms 136:26
Taylor Monaco is a work from home mom of two little ones. She started the Fresh Lens blog (www.thefreshlens.com) as an outlet for her love of photography and the word of God. On the Fresh Lens, she seeks to give others a fresh look into His biblical truth because she knows that in Him, we see things quite indifferently.