Monday, May 3, 2010

Stormy Weather

Spring in Michigan, like every other season, is quite unpredictable. It's a welcome pleasure after our winters but still one of those times where you just can't predict what the day will hold. I carry around with me a jacket, an umbrella and sunscreen and I just might need all of those things - in the same day!
Yesterday we had a flash-flood of sorts. There were thunderstorms that blew in and blew out quite suddenly and dumped buckets of water on everything - and everyone. I got caught in one of the deluges. In the time it took me to cross a parking lot the sprinkles started and then the sky opened and I ran for cover.
Today, however the sun is out and the grass has never looked greener. It's going to be a perfect spring day in Michigan. Maybe even a "top-down" day for the convertible! YEAH!
I had a flash flood of a different kind the other day. A "gully-washer" of grief swept in quite unexpectedly. I was doing a funeral for a family; someone died far too soon of cancer and the family needed a pastor to lead them through the funeral service. I was glad to do it. Then, just before the service starts and I'm about to enter the room they play a song over the PA. It's one of those Josh Groban songs filled with emotion and sadness. It also just happens to be a song that David and I would listen to together to help him fall asleep during that last month of his life.
OH MY! I never saw it coming! Suddenly I'm wiping away tears and frantically running for a tissue. The funeral home owner looked concerned. Another employee asked if I was OK. I wanted to say, "Of course I'm not OK! My husband died! I may never be OK." But that seemed a little reactionary and I was there to do an important job so I pushed away the tears and assured them I was fine.
I entered the room, led the funeral service, extended God's comfort and love to a hurting family and retreated to my car. Again the grief storm swept in and the "showers" began to fall. I turned on the windshield wipers and then realized that the "rain" was on the inside of the car not the outside. I turned off the wipers and laughed at myself.
Yeah... grief is like spring in Michigan. You can laugh and cry and feel just a bit crazy all at the same time. The good news is:
1. You're not crazy! Sudden "storms" of grief will blow in and out at the most unexpected times and for apparent silly reasons. They blow in, they blow out, they blow over and it's OK. You're not crazy. It's just a grief storm. It's a necessary part of the season. No point in trying to avoid it but you might want to prepare yourself; I also carry a box of tissues in the car at all times.
2. Tears are healthy. They release tension and give expression to deeply held emotions. They can actually be quite helpful and produce a "sunny" disposition afterwards.
3. Nobody dies from embarrassment. Yes, grief is humbling. I have made a fool of myself a time or two; card shops and football season seem to "push my buttons". I do my best to avoid them but when a storm of grief blows in I no longer panic. It will pass. I have now added Josh Groban to my "avoid" list.

Stormy weather. The best thing I can say about it is.... grief-storms blow in to blow out. Don't panic. You're not crazy. It's just a spring shower of grief; necessary, even healthy and healing. It's just hard to feel anything other than "all wet" when a storm hits. But hey, a little "rain" never hurt anybody and today the skies look clear and sunny. But then again... ya never know!


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