Hello Facebook Community. Today on the anniversary of 9/11 we remember. As we remember, let’s choose to do so together offering to honor each others loss, each others hope, and our new normal.
The deep loss that is felt by a nation on this day is one that is with many every day. The daily experience of grief does not have a timeline. It might have waves, or come and go, but the memory of the one who is no longer part of your days is ever present. I do continue to pray for ongoing comfort, peace and healing as grief is a journey we individually experience and corporately remember.
Remembering can lead to honoring
Today consider visiting with friends or others on the journey. Honor each other by asking about the loved ones who are no longer present—their names, a story or two, and how you could remember with honor together today. Honoring is a way to honestly acknowledge each other as valuable, precious, and made in the image of God.
A couple Christmases ago we got to house-sit for friends in NYC and we visited Ground Zero. We meet the man who stood at the large FDNY memorial bronze plaque. We could hear him before we saw him, as he was telling the story of that tragic day on September 11th. He was also telling beautiful details and asking those listening to remember details like the firefighters who worked nearby, the delicious coffee shop, the newspaper stand, and the people who would be there each day. He would pause and ask, “Did you ever meet them, did you ever get to go there?”. Then he would say, “We will always remember.” And then continue with another detailed story, all as he cleaned the large bronze plaque. He was remembering with honor.
When trauma happened, remembering well
When trauma on this magnitude happens we all have our own experiences that weave into a collective loss. Individual losses are honored and carried together with others. When trauma of any magnitude happens we will always remember where we were when “it” happened. This is a powerful help, the power of remembering and we see it demonstrated in stories of people in Scripture for ways to grieve well. As grief rolls and twists within us, we can remember well so that the grieving is done healthfully with God and others.
Grief is a healthy and normal function of demonstrating our love for that which is no longer with us. It is a roller-coaster that is experienced as a whole person (emotionally, physically, intellectually and spiritually) and is best healed with others in light of an authentic relationship with God.
With authenticity we bring to God our various feelings and thoughts so that feelings and thoughts don’t hinder our conversation with God, or with others. We also share those questions or wonderings with others who are graceful and honest too about their journey. We do so with honor that respects, affirms, values, and supports. The benefit is those feelings and thoughts become heard, honored and re-framed with the truth of our identity.
We also acknowledge the physical strain of grief by fueling our body with food and hydration that is healthy for our bodies. That might mean as the new normal is discovered, you visit with your doctor for a check-up and perhaps with a Certified Clinical Nutritionist for help with brain wellness. Grief strains the body and brain so it’s often helpful to restore with wellness.
In Austin, TX there is a great resource called The Christi Center which provides helpful resources, groups and community support in our grief journeys. http://christicenter.org/ . Online there is the GriefShare.org website with ongoing support as well.
As we remember, doing it well must include healthy practices that allow us to heal as a whole person. When daily life becomes regularly difficult or a physical body is having trouble recovering, it is time to seek professional help and mention to them your grief journey.
Moving together in the new normal
There are many ways we can help one another as the grieving continues. One way to help is to begin to develop a new normal. Life will never return to what we thought of as normal but we can together find a new normal that can be shared.
Daily life, holidays, special events all take on a new normal. It takes time to develop this and to allow the new normal and the grief to co-exist.
When in community, we are part of the Body and we may all feel grief with others in some way. We are to come alongside the grieving as Jesus came alongside us gently seeking to understand, not to fix. I am made in the image of God like every other person which involves respect and honor. This perspective allows us to love and be loved. We allow each other space to “just be” by providing our presence without words, by giving grace to leave social events, and to request support with healthy boundaries.
In worship we may pay attention to our own grief and we process with God the very feelings that make us uncomfortable to be human. We come to God recognizing the truth of who He is even if we don’t feel it at the time. We pause in His Presence coming to Him as we are in that moment. We also wait together in the in-between worship of here on earth and later in Heaven.
In mission we come to others even in our grief and loss to offer the kindness we have received from God and others. We provide care, compassion, and a helping hand not to heal our grief, not to escape our grief, but to find the co-existence of caring while grieving. We find renewed purpose and encouragement for the journey.
Together we can remember, honor, and continue to live out our new normal in healthy ways.
- What is one thing you will do today beyond posting on FB to remember and honor?
- What is a healthy resource that’s helped on your grief journey?
Hugs to each of ya’ll.
Liz Lawrence, MA, LPC-S is counselor, coach and creative who is passionate about people. She directs the Streams Counseling Center in Austin, Texas and co-leads the non-profit Renue.Me whose mission is to invest in the dreams of leaders in underprivileged communities around the world. Connect with her at www.lizlawrencelpc.com or www.renue.me
- Still from video by Blaine Hogan