We live near the beach. The sound of ocean waves is one of my favorite things. I used to really enjoy going out and jumping the waves, but as I have gotten older, I have more pleasure just sitting and watching them. Every once in a great while, I will be brave and adventurous and tackle a few waves. The small ones are my favorite. They give me a little boost, and I get a free ride closer to shore. But once in a while, a really big one comes along. Often I don’t see it, and I am not ready for it at all. It hits with such force that it completely overtakes me. For about five seconds, I feel overwhelmed. I am taking in water, I cannot breathe, and I begin to panic. It feels more like five minutes than five seconds. But eventually the wave passes, and I surface once again. I can breathe. I am alive. I can calm down now until the next big wave comes.
In the beginning of my crisis, someone told me that grief is like waves. Some days a really big wave of grief will hit me. I don’t know where it comes from. I am not be prepared for it, and it overtakes me. I cannot eat or sleep. I feel like I cannot breathe. But eventually it passes. It will not last forever.
I have experienced many “waves of grief.” One was in the grocery store. It is funny how just one small reminder can bring on the waves. When they come, they are overwhelming. It has become a code word for me and my girls as a way of letting them know when I am having a hard time. A few weeks ago we were going to a movie. I had been struggling through a wave. I really wanted to back out of the movie, but I didn’t. In the car I said, “Girls, a wave has hit. “ My precious daughter said, “It’s okay, Mom; we are here with you to help you swim through it.” On this particular day, that was all it took. The wave passed, and the water was calm for a while.
The next time I am blindsided by a wave of grief, I will remember a these things:
- I will survive the wave. I will surface soon and be able to breathe again.
- There are people who love me and can help me get through the waves.
- There will be more waves. They will never stop. But in time I will become stronger, and they will not overtake me as they did in the beginning.
And finally, there is a ONE who loves us who can help us swim through any wave that comes our way.
"But mightier than the violent raging of the seas,
mightier than the breakers on the shore—
the Lord above is mightier than these!"
Psalm 93:4 (New Living Translation)