Is there anyone else who watches reruns from the long-running hit show “Everybody Loves Raymond”? You don’t have to raise your hand or do anything that suggests an embarrassing admission, but I still like them even though I can mute the sound and fill in the lines as the pictures click by. If that makes me weird or ancient, so be it. Perhaps there are a few of you who are in agreement but if not it doesn’t matter.
Raymond gave the Best Man speech at his brother’s wedding. Before that moment, he was worried about what he should say, but when he stood up to speak he said that life seems to present material. If you caught this episode you remember there was drama from the usual characters and he could have talked about all the embarrassing moments starting with mother Marie, but instead he talked about editing and how we can let the bad stuff fall like discarded clippings to the cutting room floor. It was a point well taken.
Have you had to edit your life story? Do you remember unnecessary drama at a wedding? Even your own perhaps? How about drama at a funeral you attended? I’m familiar with that one. There was drama surrounding a death very close to me. It created painful memories. I have posted before in “Mama Pain” about the need to extract the purity of our loss from unnecessary drama. When we can do this we honor our loved one without negative thoughts from outside sources elbowing their way into our story. It’s our right to edit them out.
Therefore, does editing have a place in our grief journey? I say, yes it does. May I suggest that the devil does the destroying since he is the father of lies (John 10:10). He won’t stop with suicide if he can get others to destroy their lives, too, or mix so much family hatred in that it’s hard to think of your precious child or other loved ones without additional pain.
A friend recently attended her mom’s memorial service. She was naturally sad. Siblings were sad. Family members who came from near and far to attend the service were sad, too. They had lost someone they love dearly. But the time spent together was not cohesive, in fact, far from it. There were negative family dynamics depending on whose “side” you hailed from, either the local family or the long distance family. The “sides” stayed in separate locations and did not socialize together much at all. From my standpoint as a friend and observer, I couldn’t tell that there was a split in the family, where each member was expected to take sides. My friend says that her grief triggers these painful family memories, which is probably a common occurrence in many families after loss. Editing. We can choose to leave the bad stuff on the cutting room floor.
It is easy to blame others or to sabotage a gathering intended to bond us together by refusing to speak to certain family members or friends going forward. But all negative thoughts or actions do us a disservice in our grief. If it serves no earthly good then why not let it go? We deserve better.
If anyone can control his tongue, it proves that he has perfect control over himself in every other way. We can make a large horse turn around and go wherever we want by means of a small bit in his mouth. And a tiny rudder makes a huge ship turn wherever the pilot wants it to go, even though the winds are strong. So also the tongue is a small thing, but what enormous damage it can do. James 3:2-5 TLB