I remember writing this blog in 2016 on my way home from a trip to Belize. What should have been an easy connecting flight turned into a delay causing some missed flights and two extra plane rides home. I compared my experience to the process of grief. Today as I have learned so much more about the process and about God’s desire for you to come out stronger on the other side, I have re-written the blog post.
So here it goes…
On my long journey home from Belize there were points where I wanted to get upset (so I did), cry (I did that too), and I even wanted to quit! After the third flight cancellation you would think I would have just got a room somewhere to try again the next day….
I didn’t quit because I had somewhere that I needed to be, and in order to get there I had to keep pushing myself from flight to flight and city to city. Sometimes I ended up in places I wasn’t expecting, surrounded by so many people I didn’t know. This was not how the trip was supposed to go. I started the journey with an itinerary. I knew exactly where I was going, how long it would take to get there and what the end of the trip would look like. Then God stepped in….
He said, “Girl you can rush all you want but you can’t rush my process.” To this day I'm not sure why God created all the drama, but it could have been to save my life. One of my planes was delayed because of a gas issue, what if they didn’t see that? Sometimes our best bet is to just keep pushing through the process while asking God what he wants us to learn from the adventure.
This trip reminds me so much of the grief process. You start out on the journey of life with your itinerary for each year. You know exactly where you are going and how long it will take to get there, you have prepared and you have plans. You made your vision board for the year, you wrote your affirmations, you signed up for school, you got the positive pregnancy test, you accepted the job….. And then the flight attendant announces the news. The flight had been delayed and for some of us canceled. Now, we have to alter our trip, get on some connecting flights and go to some cities and places that were didn’t expect to go to try and make it to the desired destination. Delayed and canceled flights sometimes mean that we miss the event we were traveling for, sometimes we don’t get to see the people we wanted to see.
When we lose someone or something that is special to us, it feels like a delayed or canceled flight. We have to stop our journey and reroute our travel plans to accommodate for what we lost. We have to take into account that grief causes a delay in our happiness, but we can still get there if we keep pushing.
This is something I learned when I lost my son Simeon. I wanted so bad to be fine “tomorrow” and hurry up and be happy again. I felt like it was taking me way too long to grieve. I felt like I was going from full emotions to overbooked thoughts and it made me mad and made me cry. I wanted to get a spiritual hotel and call it quits. I felt like I would never make it “home”. Then after all my connections and standbys I finally realized I had made it. I could smile and laugh and think about my boy in a happy way. Even though it wasn’t easy, I went through the process and let God teach me and equip me for my next “Life trip”.
It is important to remember that when you are grieving, you have to let yourself go through your own process and give yourself the space and time to grieve properly. Just like a missed flight, loss can overwhelm you because you find yourself momentarily stuck in a feeling you don’t want to be in. It can make you feel like you will never make it back to your happy place.
Romans 5:3 says There's more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we're hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us.
Grieving is hard and it hurts but keep pushing because there is more to come. Keep talking to God, keep thanking him for what you DO have, and don’t quit! Ask God to help you through this process and ask him to develop that passionate patience in you. May the delay allow you time to put a purpose to your pain, that by the time you make it back to happiness, you have the tools to help someone else through their journey.