NORMAN — I was a young father enjoying life. It was a beautiful Sunday morning. I was in church with my wife and 3-year-old daughter. During the last hymn of the morning, a wave of grief swept over me. It was an unexpected emotion that I was not prepared for, nor fully able to understand.
Bewildered and confused, I wondered what was up. Our only daughter was pure joy and blessing to us. Twin daughters were scheduled for delivery that week. Marriage, ministry, health and school were all fantastic. So, why the grief?
And then it dawned on me, this would be the last time that my family of three would ever be together in worship. From that Sunday forward, our family would be five. Our family was changing, and it would never be the same again.
My first encounter with grief made a profound impact on me. I realized that even in the midst of good times, grief often shares the stage. Grief is the natural way we protect ourselves, process and cope with the changes and emotions of life.
Sometimes those changes result from death and loss, but sometimes those changes result from the good and natural progressions of life. Grief is good for us, but only as we recognize it and work through it in healthy ways.
Those unable to process their grief struggle to move ahead. Some tragically spiral downward in despair and depression, finding themselves detached from life and those they love.
The holidays begin next week. Despite all the “hustle and bustle,” we look forward to the excitement and good-will of the season. We reunite with family and friends for special meals and gatherings.
We love to give and receive gifts. We find joy and strength in the enthusiasm, energy, and anticipation of our children. The holiday spirit seems to infect us all and make this the “best time of the year.”