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Patience and Other Lessons From Grief

I have always thought February was THE loooonnnngest month of the year. Until this year. January seemed to drag on I was happy to turn the calendar and behold a new month.

The first few weeks of the year were a bit rough. I think my Fall was so busy, one thing after another, that the slow weeks of January 2023 just threw me down and sat on top of me.

“How on earth can I be starting my third year without Jon?”

That realization was just too heavy to carry. So I didn’t. I stayed away from social media. I barely answered texts or messages; only the vital ones. I didn’t make any appointments. And I only got out of my pjs into “street” clothes when I left the house.

Depression? Maybe.

But I think it was more self-care, being gentle with myself, and taking the time to grieve.

I am blessed to have that privilege. Time to grieve.

I’ve enrolled myself into classes…. two Bible studies, one college certificate course (I’m just nerdy), and one art class. I am also participating in three other “groups” of various interests. And I’m currently reading five books (Yes, very nerdy.)

Distraction? Yes. Surely. Absolutely.

Amongst all that diversion, I attempt to set aside most mornings to meditate and meet up with God. Quiet time. That phrase makes me chuckle because often it feels like most of my time is “quiet time.” Even with all the distractions in place, there are way too many hours in the week to fill, and there is just a lot of silence and loneliness. But this quiet time in the morning? It’s different from the other solitude in my life. This is coveted seclusion. I guard this time. I sometimes get up early so I can linger longer in this space.

What I am finding is God uses ALL the things to talk about ONE thing. He’s gentle and kind and patient. He’s not asking me to make all the change that losing Jon requires at once. I show up. I defend that morning practice. And then I immerse myself into good things. God meets me in all that “distraction.” He shows up. He uses all the things “to bring home” one thing he wants me to work on.

I love that.

Honestly, I want everything in order. Right now. I want the pain gone. I want a new life. I want everything to be fine. Right now.

But God isn’t my genie in a bottle. He doesn’t show up with a magic wand. He just patiently talks to me day by day. Sometimes he asks me to step out and move forward. Other days, he’s content to let me be. Just be. And that is enough.

Finding the patience of God in my grief has been an oasis. There’s a gentleness. A kindness. No rush. He grieves along with me. Others aren’t always as understanding. They want the old Connie back. And to be honest, that’s what I want too… I want the old Connie, the old life. I want my husband back and the beautiful life we made together.

But God and I know she’s not coming back… ever.

There’s a new gal in town. Even we are just getting to know one another so I don’t expect others to be at ease with her quite yet. She’s bolder and stronger in some ways. More fragile in others. She’s wiser (death does that). More human. Sometimes more cynical. All the change isn’t necessarily good at the moment. There’s lots of growing pains.

Gentleness. Kindness. Patience. God is teaching me about himself…. even in my pain, even in the shadow of death.

Be gentle with yourself. Be kind. Be patient. There is no genie, no magic wand.

There is time… quiet time…to grieve, to learn, to grow, and to live… again.

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