Saturday, October 5, 2013

Week 3 - Further Along the Journey

Off Road By Kurt Olson

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This past August, my family and I vacationed in Arizona. My wife splurged on a one day Jeep rental so we could go off road trail driving. We drove a long and winding bumpy path filled with all sorts of boulders and other obstacles.

 During our daylong excursion, I thought about how the grief journey is a lot like driving a Jeep off road.
  •  I was the driver and I was pretty concerned with everything right in front of me: so much so that I would forget to see the beautiful mountains around us. It occurred to me that is a great picture of my first couple years on my grief journey, I would be so busy focusing on the day-to-day obstacles of life that I would forget to look around and see life.
  • Even though I was driving, I had my wife and kids help me navigate through the terrain by looking ahead down the path. I would have had a more difficult time doing it on my own. In grief you need someone to help you see a little further down the road.
  • On the road, you would go a little further on a winding path and you would take look at the mountains and even though it was the same mountain range it would look very different each time you would stop to look. The mountain range didn’t change, but the vantage point of where I stopped and took time to view did change. I was at a different place then when I looked the last time. Some of these changes made the rock formations look more beautiful and other times not as beautiful. The grief journey is very similar when you have been on it for awhile, there are some times that you catch glimpses of life’s beauty and other times you stop and look and it might not be as pretty as you remembered.
  • There were times that great big fluffy clouds would block out the sun. When you looked around at the rock formations, small clouds would cast shadows and almost add highlights to what you were seeing. Larger clouds would just gray the whole landscape. In grief, there will be sunny days where you can see the little details of life. Others days there will be small clouds that add or subtract from your day. Still, there are other days when huge clouds will just make the beauty of life gray and lifeless.
Here are my takeaways that may help you as well.

  1. Day to day problems can suck the life out of you, especially those new to the grief journey. These are important to handle but you also need to stop and take time to look at the beauty of life around you.
  2. Don’t do the grief journey alone.  It really helps to get perspective from someone who has been down the path a little further and can provide guidance, like your group or your group leader.
  3. On the grief journey, life will have its up and downs. The beautiful mountain range isn’t changing, it’s your point of view that changes. Don’t be discouraged if you take time to look at life and it isn’t pretty; just a little further down the road the view will get better, I can almost guarantee it. I do admit that the scenery changes day-to-day, sometimes it's beautiful and sometimes ugly. Remember you choose to keep on going up the road.  If you don’t take the road, life will stay the same.
  4. Clouds happen and there is little that you can do with them. Sometimes it's good to sit in the clouds and acknowledge that you have experienced a loss.  Other times you may choose to keep your head up and keep on looking ahead, and those clouds will eventually pass. Stop to consider what is in your control and what isn’t. I think you will find there is more you have control over than you think. 
Romans 1:20 "For since the creation of the world, God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen." 
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