We rarely understand the tragedy of the tempest in the midst of surging waves. It is only when we look back at the scene, over and over again in our mind’s eye, that we can begin to recognize how our story has been forever changed.
Where Have We Been?
No, Corrie and I haven’t forgotten about this blog. We haven’t forgotten about our next book. We haven’t forgotten about you, our readers.
We have been walking through a few tempests that have taken extra energy and focus.
The specifics of each tempest are different for every story, but I want to share with you a few lessons we have been learning together over the past few months.
Honoring Grief Itself and Honoring How the Other Grieves
When tragedy hits, grief is our human response. To not grieve in any measure is to not engage the full reality of life. And in those areas we choose to not engage, numbness or anguish will emerge to the surface sooner or later.
We must first remember to honor grief. In the brokenness of life — in the fullness of life — grief must have its place.
More specifically, Corrie and I have had to learn how to honor one another’s ways of grieving. This is easier said than done. It has required, for us, numerous conversations permeated by internal wars fought between defensiveness and an honest desire to put ourselves in the other’s place.
Forced to fight through another level of honesty and humility, we uncovered a new level of love. We were ultimately able to honor each other more fully.
When you grieve as a couple, even if the grief is primarily affecting only one of you, give one another room to be. And remember that this will not last forever. On the other side, you will find a greater beauty present than you ever realized in the other’s eyes.
When we honor each other in our grieving, we release each other from the burden to perform and can instead be simply present.
It’s Your Story, Not Better or Worse, But Changed by a New Chapter
Some people want to be tested and tried and still survive simply to have a story to tell. For those of you who have fallen into that trap as I did earlier in life, you understand the reality of soon being saddened by the thought that you ever wished for more than the trouble of the day — for each day has enough trouble of its own.
We shouldn’t search for tempests behind every normal wave of life, unecessarily adding to a feeling of instability. But when tempests do come — and they certainly will — our stories will inevitably be filled with greater depth, as a book is filled with pages.
Some of us are on the other side of grief, having weathered the storm, forever changed. We soon find ourselves with more. More insight to give to the next generation. More empathy for the broken. More love for one another.
If you are walking through a season of grief in your relationship or marriage — whether the tempest is within or without — remember that it will not last forever. You might feel like the situation will never change, the hurt you feel will never go away, or that life will always be too difficult to handle.
But there will be an end to this chapter, and a new chapter will open with words of hope and harmony.
And so they discovered.
And so they grew stronger.
And so they could see as they had never seen before.
And so they moved forward, with a new scar and depth of heart.
Hope is not easy to grasp in the midst of the tempest, and sometimes it is even harder to grasp after the tempest has passed. But at some point, the page will turn, and a new chapter title will appear, surprising as it always is.
When You Feel Alone
Sometimes the stories of your individual tempest are difficult to share. Sometimes they involve details you don’t want to offer anyone beyond your inner circle of community. Sometimes they are better kept in the safety of your home for a time.
In these times, when grief is very personal and not socially accessible, your love for one another is all the more important.
Love by being present.
Love by listening.
Love by acknowledging the pain.
Love by holding the other’s hand and crying.
Love by resting a gentle hand on his back in the darkness of the night.
Love by searching for the gift that will help her remember and move on.
And after you have walked through these times together in the safety of your home, find the one, the two, the few who are safe places for you. Share your story, and accept the gift of family and friendship. Understand that their words will never be enough to take away the pain, but their care can help you heal if you let it reach through the barrier of pain.
Find the ones who don’t require you to perform.
Find the ones who don’t ask you to forget.
Find the ones who can listen, encourage, and wait with you for the wake of the wave to steady.
Finally, We’re Here
We’re here and want you to know that we are still on our mission to strengthen relationships, to strengthen the foundations of homes. We’re working on our next book and are excited about what’s ahead. We just needed a sabbatical.
We appreciate the support of family and friends closest to us. We are confident that this time will allow us to speak even more mightily to our generation.
If we can encourage you as you walk through grief, let us know.