Grieving the Summer
Fall is around the corner, and it makes me think of the constant change that we go through in life. But few of us handle these transition in life very well. At Transforming Life Church, we want to help you prioritize your emotional health. Most of us are thrown around like a rag doll through the changes in life. There is a better way, a rhythm that you could practice to help with the inevitable transitions in life. That process is grieving the loss, the transition from what life was to embracing what life is now.
I know, we often limit the word “grief” to when a loved one dies. But the truth is grief is the natural emotional response to any loss in life. Of course, losing a loved one stands out because the pain is so intense. Just because the pain of loss is potentially less when you lose a job, say goodbye to single life before you get married, or when a child finally leaves the home, it doesn’t mean you don’t need to adequately grieve the loss. The problem is we deny or distract ourselves from the hurt and sadness. This inevitably turns to bitterness, frustration, and ultimately a life that you can’t enjoy. Wishing you still had what you’ve lost causes us to wish we lived another life and ends in being disappointed with the life that we have. What does letting go to embrace the new look like? Take summer ending and fall beginning as an example of a transition.
Slow down and Remember
I encourage you to slow down and take the time to first reflect on the summer. What were the activities you enjoyed that you can’t enjoy in fall? For me that’s going to the Oregon Coast and playing soccer every day with my kids without worrying about the rain. It’s having the kids off from school to do fun activities and vacations. That freedom feels so good! When you remember, you’ll feel what you felt when these moments happened. I also remember the things about summer I didn’t really like. Maybe that’s having to wear a swim suit or all the money you spent on that vacation. Those can be frustrating and good to be able to not have to deal with in the fall.
Next, take time to consider what you’ll get to enjoy in fall that you can’t in summer. Can someone say football! I love football and all that comes with it like parties, fantasy football, and learning about stand out college players. Maybe for you it’s your grandma’s chili that your family only dishes out in the fall. Or its apple picking and pumpkin patches. Hoodie weather…my favorite! We can look forward to good things ahead that will allow us to rely less on what we had before in the summer. See how helpful that is? This part is so important because you are turning your heart to delight and appreciate what will be, instead of wishing deep down that summer was still around.
Let go and Embrace
Grieving is letting go to hold on to something new. The five stages of grief (denial, anger, depression, bargaining, acceptance) are all about the fight within us to accept and live our current reality. No you don’t forget what you’ve lost, but you let go of requiring it to be back in your life for you to truly be happy. When you let go of what has already left, you make space in your heart to embrace more of what you currently have. Don’t miss out on the delight of the present gifts of life because your heart is full of disappointment and resentment. Letting go looks different for everyone. I like to journal and write out what I’m saying goodbye to. I also will spend time in prayer saying “I let this go and am open for the new” in prayer. I also always ask for God’s help because this is the work of His healing in our lives.
I know that it may seem trivial for you to grieve summer ending to embrace the fall beginning. However, if you practice this rhythm in the little things, you’ll be more willing to grieve well when you experience a huge loss. You aren’t alone, we all experience loss and our church is with you as you learn to grieve well.