Facing grief and moving on

Published 10:36 am Thursday, December 6, 2018

I was at the Southside Medical Center last week for my annual checkup. I was at the desk where a nice lady was taking in all of my information, getting me to sign all the forms, all of that preliminary stuff. Just sitting there minding my own business.

And then over the speakers came the old classic, “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas.”

It was all I could do to keep my emotions in check.

Email newsletter signup

For just a little while I was taken back to my growing up years and watching the movie “White Christmas” with mom and dad and brother and sister. It was a special movie for us in that it starts off in World War II, during that last Christmas when the GI’s all thought they might be going home; but then the Germans counterattacked at the Battle of the Bulge. My dad was in that and had some special memories of that time, and the disappointment of not being able to go home for Christmas.

But there is another kind of disappointment — one that hits us when we hear special pieces of music, or do a particular activity, or when the smell of something delicious hits our senses —especially this time of year. It is the disappointment that some special people are not around anymore to enjoy the season, to enjoy our children or grandchildren. This is a beautiful, wonderful time of year. But it has a bite to it. And the bite comes when we are reminded of those we have loved and lost.

Whenever I conduct a funeral service there is one passage of Scripture that usually comes up (besides the very familiar 23rd Psalm). It is the last verses of the eighth chapter of Paul’s letter to the Romans. In that passage, Paul tells them that he is convinced that nothing — neither life nor death, neither things present nor things to come, nothing all of creation — will be able to separate us from God’s love in Christ Jesus our Lord.

A couple of weeks ago the folks at Piedmont Senior Resources had a seminar on dealing with grief in the holidays. In that time, counselor Pat Thorne did a great job of reminding all of us that we each have some potholes of grief in our lives. We can land in them and stay stuck, or when we can honestly deal with our feelings, embrace the love that is still there, and move on.

That passage from Romans is one of the best for me in facing grief and moving on – especially in these days. Nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus, so when grief ambushes us we can silently embrace those we love — and then move on and celebrate, giving thanks for the love they gave us.

REV. DR. TOM ROBINSON is pastor of Farmville United Methodist Church. He can be reached at robin216@embarqmail.com.