It’s that time again. Allergy season in Atlanta. Everything is covered in pollen. Cars look as though they have been dipped in yellow powdered sugar. And lots of people have very red eyes.
I wish I could say that’s the reason for my condition. At least it’s a good excuse.
The real reason for my red-rimmed eyelids and my just-under-the-surface tears is what I call “good grief.” No, not the Charlie Brown kind of “Good Grief!” The kind of grief that comes when a wonderful season of life draws to a close.
My only child is about to graduate from college. She’s landed her dream job with an outstanding NFL team and is about to move across the country. I couldn’t be happier for her. Her hard work, passion for her field, and commitment to excellence have paid off. Best of all, she has made it through four years of college with her love for God stronger than ever. Truly a miracle. And I am exceedingly grateful.
So why I am grieving? Because I have absolutely loved the privilege of being a mom. Yes, I’ll always be her mom. But it will be different. The nest really is emptying for good. This season of life is drawing to a close. And it hurts.
How about you? Are you in the midst of “good grief?” Trying to understand your conflicting emotions or figuring out what to do with the ache in your heart? As a fellow sojourner, I wanted to share a few thoughts that are keeping me afloat. I hope they’ll help you, too.
Realize that a sense of grief is natural and appropriate even when something good is drawing to a close. A dear friend teaches a grief recovery class and she wisely says “you have to feel to heal.” Although my reflexive reaction is to stuff the grief down into my “emotional bottom drawer,” I realize that the healthiest thing is to allow it to come to the surface. (And to have lots of Kleenex handy.)
Remember that when one season ends, another one begins. And there are good things in every season of life. Just ask any grandparent! Yes, the seasons are different. But each one can be filled with joy. Live expectantly.
Avoid numbing the pain. It’s so easy to use alcohol, food or shopping as a diversion. (Just to name a few) So many options may provide temporary relief but longer term regrets. Go outside. Enjoy the beauty of God’s creation. Walk. Run. Get those endorphins going! Make healthy choices. Be truly good to yourself.
Look around and focus on others in need. I’ve always found that the best way to make a quick exit from a pity party is to help someone else. It’s 100% effective and 100% rewarding.
Trust that if you’re still breathing, there is purpose for your life. Try something new. Take a class. Learn a new sport. Volunteer for a charity you believe in. Just the act of stepping outside of your comfort zone will energize you.
Seasons change. That’s part of life. The only choice we really have is how we’ll react to those changes. And I’m counting on getting over my “allergies” soon. How ‘bout you?