It seems true that the first year is the most difficult. The first holidays and the first time you pass those special days are the hardest. Perhaps because you’re not sure you’ll make it. Not sure if you’ll be able to get out of bed. Not sure if you’ll be able to breathe. But you do. And then comes the second set of days and milestones and you manage to live through those too.
As I move through the advent season this year – the season of waiting and hoping – I wait and hope as well. I wait for the coming of Christ and I hope in the promises He made the first time he came. But my waiting and hoping cannot be done in a vacuum.
John 10:10 tells me that Christ came to give me life and life more abundantly. I know that Michael is not dead; he lives with Christ. And so my waiting and my hope is in the coming again of Christ and that I will see Michael (and so many other loved ones) again. I know that Michael’s life now is so much greater than anything I know and he is experiencing an abundance that I can only imagine.
But I also know that this life of abundance is available to me now. Not only life, but abundant life. It’s true that my heart still aches because Michael isn’t here and sometimes the tears still fall. But I will not go through life wearing black. I will not isolate myself from the world and spend my days in mourning. I will not perpetuate sadness to those around me when the world provides more than enough sadness of its own. I do not visit his grave daily to wait and have long conversations with him there. To live this way wouldn’t honor the life Michael and I shared. It wouldn’t be an example to my children of how to live once I am gone. It wouldn’t be consistent with the life that Christ came and died so that I could have.
For everything there is a season. And I will not live the rest of my life stuck in one season of sadness. I miss Michael today and I think I will miss him every day for as long as I live here on earth. But I will not go through life looking downcast and avoiding the celebrations. I choose to celebrate and laugh. I choose to be a part of my family’s milestones and to pursue the adventures ahead. I choose life. I choose the life and the abundance that God has provided through the sacrifice of His Son. May I never discount all that He came to do for me by being stuck in a season of mourning and sadness.