Waking to see each new day in the current years has so much more value than it had in years before.
The focus of the value of waking has been amplified because of the death that has been surrounding me lately. First, it was the huge fallout with my mother that left me with a ‘dead’ feeling, followed by the physical death of my father. Last weekend, it was my freaking awesome dog that took his last breaths.
I helped bury my good buddy in September of 2006. My friends and I had shovels, and we literally placed the dirt on top of the burial vault. I mourned over his death for several years. While using all of the drugs and drinking, I would get so carried away within the glorification of his death. For years, my undiagnosed depression and dysfunctional thought processes had me believing that my real and primary problem was Jason dying. I believed that all of my tribulations during that period were a direct result of his death. I now know that I only saw his passing as the reason why I had been falling apart for several years, because I had not yet realized the underlying psychological complications I truly possessed. I had myself believing, for a very long season, that my buddy being gone was the reason why I couldn’t sleep, breathe, stop doing so many drugs and drinking my life away. The reason why I couldn’t stop crying all of that time, either.
The experience of losing people, or animals, that were of value to me has really changed over the years. The resilience is a bit different. This may sound obtuse, and it may not settle well with some, but this is my personal experience. Losing others hurts like hell, but the focus is not on the loss for long periods of time. If it were to be, the cancer would grow into a debilitating condition. Many of the same complications during the season when my friend had died would take root, growing into a slow, yet compromising, defeat.
Yes, I am grieving, but I cannot change my mother’s unwillingness to seek treatment for her mental illness. I cannot bring my father back and force him to love me like I had envisioned. I cannot bring my four-legged friend back and let him run around like the crazed, wild horse that he was. It’s just not going to happen. Within the grief, unlike before, I find myself observing and accepting the many stages and patterns, instead of becoming lost within them. That is something I could not do after Jason had passed because I didn’t know the way to do so. Grieving no longer involves the glorification of what I cannot change.
I have learned that a desire to change what has already been done in the past is a delusion. It’s just not real within the present. There is no time machine that can go back and, “undo.” No amount of grief after someone dies will bring them back. That’s the true part. Unfortunately, within the fickleness of my mind, I sometimes get lost within my emotional ties to those who’ve passed. That’s when I drop my head and pray for His strength. I pray for His strength to realize that it is just my mind of flesh that wants me to believe that moving forward is impossible. It is also the flesh that convinces me that rehashing the past is what I should be doing. It is an attack of the adversary that wants me to go back to a time when I was a walking dead man. The time when I glorified the death instead of the life. The bad instead of the good. The memories and states of pain, instead of pleasure. The uneasiness that captivated my heart and mind. Anything and anywhere but in the now, with Christ, is where the darkness desires for me to be.
Glorifying should be reserved, solely, for the many things of the Lord. His strength and provision is what we should seek as we go through the many emotions and trials of grieving. He should be exalted above what grieves the heart and mind. The idols that we place before Him, whether it be our control, or grief, or sadness, or something that cannot be changed, only hinder our relationship with the Lord. Anything exalted with more emphasis and passion over our willingness to seek His providence, will certainly end up being the very thing that leaves our life in ruin.
As I woke today, I was incredibly thankful. It is a new opportunity to exalt the Lord. He gave me another opportunity to live. Death did not yet come. I sit and listen to the birds chirp and sing. I am grateful for their song. I am thankful to hear their greeting. Another day has arrived. Another day to observe and share His blessings.
I know that my life here is temporary. I also know that this life is one of a sinful nature. Sin brings all of these painful and complicated predicaments to the surface, time and time again. I truly have to stay close to the Lord in order to not go back to the places that pull me away from Him. Those places, where grief becomes a lifestyle. Where idols become gods. Where flesh becomes glorified over Spirit.
Today, I do not desire to die within my many trials and tribulations, while still alive.
My prayer this morning is that we always recognize the idols that we place before our Lord. I pray that we look to our Lord for strength to release those things that take root and destroy. I pray that if we grieve, we look to our Lord through every stage and pattern and learn to observe them, not allowing them to take root in our hearts and minds. The rooting that would only lead us to the destruction of our relationship with Christ. I pray that we see what troubles us, as what it truly is, and not what we convince ourselves of it being. I pray that His truths are the focus of each waking day to come.