Sometimes, life comes at you with a punch to the soul. If you wonder if you’ve ever felt it, chances are you haven’t. But there are those of you who may have felt a twinge of pain when you read those words. Maybe your bruising and bleeding is still raw as you press your hand to your gut to staunch the pain and forget again.
Lift your head and look around you. Take a breath and let it out slow. You may ask yourself, “Why do I still feel this way?” The rain has stopped but the tears still flow. “There’s nothing to cry about!” You scream into the night, as you look at the life you live now, better than any you can remember. There are trees sprouting in every corner, new life and resurrection glowing from their leaves. And yet you weep because you have no strength left to stifle the tears.
Standing in the Rain
You stood firm as the rain poured down. You may have even had the courage to dance in that rain, because you knew that God was making you into something clean and new. But even if you faltered, you made it through to the other side. You swam, and you didn’t drown, because you knew who held you and who carved your roads ahead of you.
But why now, when the rollercoaster waves are over, when rain no longer beats down, do you weep? Why now, when you can see that it was all for your good and resurrections surround you, do you cry for what once was?
“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-4).
There is a time for everything, even grieving. Those times may not always seem the most obvious, nor do they always make sense to those on the outside looking in. But a punch to the soul isn’t a wound that can go untended. Here, on the other side of the storm, where there’s room to breath, is your place to heal. You must heal before you can dance again, and in order to heal, you have to mourn. You must heal before you can dance again, and in order to heal, you have to mourn. Click To Tweet
Crying in the Sunshine
There are deaths that we must grieve without funerals. How do you mourn a dead dream, a lifeless friendship, or a lost job? There’s no one to reminisce with, no one to share the pain, nothing left to treasure.
Jason Gray articulates this idea perfectly in his song, “Death Without a Funeral“:
“When there’s nothing you can bury in the dirt, No place to lay the memory of all the things that were, No way to feel the closure, no ending to the hurt, It’s a death without a funeral. When you see me I’m still breathing, Though a million things have died inside of me. There’s no healing without grieving, No wonder it’s so hard to rest in peace.”
There’s no time to grieve when all your strength is used to keep on living. So here, on the other side…Cry. Scream. Write. Burn something. Bury something. Weep in your Father’s arms until your throat is raw. Don’t be ashamed; just because life has a new sunrise doesn’t mean you’ve already forgotten your dark night of the soul.
This happened to the prophet Elijah. He stood his ground on Mount Carmel, quite literally in the rain, against hundreds of false prophets and an evil queen who wanted him dead. He didn’t falter, cower, or back down, and he proved that there’s only one God worth worshiping. It wasn’t until after that he ran away. It wasn’t until after that he hid. It wasn’t until after that he was consumed with fear and suicidal thoughts. But God touched him in his grief. Even the greatest prophets have to cry before they can dance again.Just because life has a new sunrise doesn’t mean you’ve already forgotten your dark night of the soul. Click To Tweet
The sun has broken through, the clouds have melted away, the storm is over. But you’re still sick from the tossing, still soaked from the rain, still chilled to the bone from the biting wind. All that’s left to do is to cry in the sunshine after you’ve done your best for so long to stand in the rain.
A Time to Dance
Grieving is the only way to heal from a punch to the soul. So, grieve. Grieve the absent friend, the lost time, the missing innocence. Grieve the failed goal, the lost home, the closed chapter. Grieve how you need to for as long as you need to.
There isn’t a time limit on grief, but how do know when we really are done mourning? It isn’t when the pain stops, some losses are so traumatic that, to an extent, the pain never goes away, and that’s okay. The key to knowing when you’re done grieving is being able to live past it, and sometimes that takes real effort on your part. But making an effort and forcing yourself out of your grief aren’t the same, so don’t cut your grief short and damage your soul. God told Elijah when it was time for him to stop grieving. He gave a gentle whisper in the wind, and encouraged him to keep moving forward.
Just like Elijah, we shouldn’t grieve forever. There’s a time for everything, and after the time to mourn comes a time to dance. Never forget to dance. Living in joy, thankfulness, and praise is the last part of healing. It’s moving on. It’s ripping off the Band-Aid to see that you aren’t bleeding anymore. It’s seeing all that’s left is a scar.
So, dance. Dance for resurrection. Dance for new dreams. Dance for the one who gives good gifts to his children and works all things together for your good. Dance as hard as you cried because now, not only is the war over, but your wounds have healed. You can sing for joy and rest in peace because the funeral is over, and the new life has only just begun.