I was a widow. This is a very small part of who I am. My life consists of so many other adjectives: mother, wife, daughter, woman, adoptive mother, mother of a handicapped child, writer, dreamer, weight lifter, runner (kind of), reader, poet, child of God, gardener, friend, strong willed, first born, blond (fake), flaky (I do have 7 kids!), cook, and the list could go on and on. It seems that often when a spouse dies, the remaining spouse gets caught up in a one dimensional identity of being either a widow or a widower. This becomes the first and foremost way of identifying themselves when talking to everyone; “My husband (wife) died,” or everything they do is devoted to the memory of this one person, even years beyond their passing, or they constantly continue to dwell on pictures, memorabilia, and videos of the past with this person in them, and they talk about this person 95% of the time with anyone who will listen to assuage some guilt? Regrets? Attention seekers? I’m not sure what exactly it’s about but it doesn’t fit with my personality or how I choose to deal with my life or my grief. There is nothing wrong with remembering a deceased person; however, I would argue that it is hard to move into the present when you force yourself to dwell on something that is now part of your past. It’s hard to be respectful of your present (example, a remarriage) when you choose to live in your past as well. That person’s present and future ended, and why should yours have to end as well with their death? What if instead, all of that time, energy, and identity could be put into those who are still here? Your children? Your friends? Your coworkers? Your family? Your new spouse? What if they all had the opportunity to have you need them as desperately as you cling to the one deceased person? I understand yearning for and missing someone, but there is a difference between this and in being so entwined in the past and longing for the past that it suffocates your present life. This idea of the past can fall under many categories, and it is not just limited to the death of someone; like a divorce, a traumatic event, or even a disappointment. By living in this situation or by allowing yourself to wallow in it you will never be able to move forward into something awesome that God has planned for your life in the present. Paul talks about his desire to put aside his past, not wallow in his regrets or pains, but to instead, “Forget what is behind and strain toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” Phil 3:13-14. He of anyone could have beat himself up over regrets and guilt as the biggest persecutor of the modern church, but we never hear him rambling on and on about this for he would have never accepted his identity as being wrapped up in who he was prior to Christ. He instead chose to move forward in who he was as a new creation in Christ! There is a season for sadness but then there is also a season to rise above the sadness and laugh, dance, sing and live! “A time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,” Ecclesiastes 3:4. I would challenge anyone living in the past or anyone caught in the pain of a lost loved one to give it to Christ, thank Him for your life, and thank Him for the time He gave you with that special person and start living for your own identity in Him.
Just Keep Livin!!