I have gone astray like a sheep. Psalm 119:176
I can relate to the text above. Being lost is a physical condition in which I find myself on occasion. Each incident is temporary, but, while in the throes of it, it can seem overwhelming. I also know what it feels like to be emotionally lost. Many of you know exactly what I mean. Being blindsided by tragedy flattens one for an unknown period of time. And even when you can pick yourself up and move forward, it’s easy to fall back into feeling emotionally lost all over again. Don’t lose heart. It’s all about the healing process, slow and sure.
Recalling times when I have felt lost and discouraged, my mind happened upon a cute memory back when I was mommy to two little ones. Memories, such as this one, have helped lighten my emotional load. Bear in mind that I have been on my journey longer than many of you. You may not be able to remember good memories yet; meanwhile, maybe you can enjoy the memory I am about to share.
To set the stage I was fortunate to be able to stay home with my boys while they were preschoolers. Back then there was less pressure to start them early. If I had been working, my paycheck would have gone toward the expense of daycare. Instead we decided that until our children were ready for kindergarten, I would stay home with them. Not everyone could make the same decision, but it was one I have never regretted. Because my boys and I were always together, it sometimes meant we had to run errands, which of course, little boys are never excited to do. This story took place while the boys were quite young, and yes, it was shopping day.
They were two little cherubs most of the time, but shopping was NOT something they enjoyed on their BEST day. Wherever I went, they went. This particular day we were heading to a shopping center outside our familiar part of town.
I have to admit they were being good little guys, entertaining themselves with their toys and books in the back seat, even with their chatter increasing in volume once in a while. Meanwhile, I was making wrong turn after wrong turn ~ there was no GPS back then. The kiddie chatter was distracting me at a critical juncture, so I said, “Boys, Mommy has made a mistake and she needs to have you be quiet for a few minutes until she gets turned around.” Obediently they hushed to a whisper.
Quiet as mice, the boys played with their toys. After just a few minutes, we were headed in the right direction. It was so peaceful in the car that I was reluctant to give it up. Having the opportunity to soak up silence was a rare treat in those early years. We were just humming along when a timid little voice piped up from the back seat, “Mommy, are you through making mistakes now?” A heart-melting question. Rare, sweet footage in my memory garden. Am I finished making mistakes? Hardly.
We fall in love with our first child when excitedly we discover we have a baby bump. Once placed in our arms, we cannot imagine life without this baby. There is never a thought of death. Why should there be? We assume our children will continue to live long, fulfilling lives way after we are gone. We expect the natural order of things, do we not?
We get rudely awakened to the unnatural order of things when we are blindsided by tragedy. We are shocked senseless and flounder in disbelief. Numbness sets in. We feel disconnected between heart and mind. Nothing makes sense from the words tossed about in our hearing. This can’t be real. We feel lost and want to go into hiding. Blame rears its ugly head. Self-doubt and guilt become daily snacks we gulp down without resistance. Instead of nighttime bringing relief, we roll and toss, wondering what we could have done differently. Could other decisions or actions have saved our beloved children? Like a pet hamster, running round and round and getting nowhere on his exercise wheel, our minds can play and replay the facts surrounding the death of our children. It’s as if blame and guilt have been programmed to play in our minds continuously night and day. Will it ever stop?
Is it possible to take a break from the negative feed flowing through one’s mind? Maybe not at first, but after some time has passed, it is possible. I have been able to take a break. In fact, my mind is free from the steady diet of negative thoughts. Please send me a comment if you are ready to take such a break. I will gladly guide you.
For me, connecting with God has helped immensely. When the tempter urges me to return to a place of overwhelming sadness, heaven sends relief in the form of Scripture such as this one:
Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly. Matthew 11:28-30 MSG
Is there possibly a spiritual connection to being lost? Could I lose my way spiritually and not know it? Do I deliberately push God away, especially if I blame Him for the loss of my child? Just as I finally got turned around and headed in the right direction in this story, we can come to realize that we need someone greater than ourselves to help navigate through the waters of grief. The line from a popular hymn comes to mind: “I once was lost, but now am found, Was blind, but now I see.” Perhaps this line refers to being lost and found, not only physically, but also spiritually.
PS – Blogging has helped me focus on what’s most important for me, and since I’ve begun to write, I feel a little less lost. I write to help others feel a little less lost, too. My purpose is to help encourage and inspire readers who are also on a grief journey wherever it shall lead them.
Hymn, “Amazing Grace” by John Newton, published 1779.
Scripture shared from the Amplified Bible (AMP) and The Message (MSG)