Everyone experiences their share of painful, negative life events. We all experience loss. Sometimes the pain feels like more than we can bare. The pain of grief cannot be taken away, and really, it shouldn’t. We need to grieve when we experience loss. The process of grief is healthy and eventually healing.
However, there are some techniques we can use to ease our grief a bit. I learned one such tool in one of my trips to Thailand. I conducted brief annual clinics for missionaries in Thailand for seven years. The clinics were held at an annual conference of 1200 to 1500 missionaries, and I was asked to attend to offer counseling for those that needed it. The days were full and a very rewarding.
Each morning of the conference, a worship service was held for the attendees. The services were held in a large auditorium, with all of the 1200 to 1500 in attendance. One speaker shared a message that the difficulties in our lives take on a new meaning when we view them from an eternal perspective. He said that we tend to think of our losses in terms of the impact they will make on our remaining years on this earth. We imagine spending our days without the loved one. However, as Christians, we believe that our true existence is for eternity, not just for our earthly years.
As he spoke, I noticed a string tied to his podium and stretching upward all the way to the back ceiling of the conference center. The string had to be at least 150 yards in length. Later in the sermon, he pointed the string out to the crowd. He also noted that, near the podium, there was a small bead on the string. He said to think of our earthly lives as the string that was covered by the bead, and our eternal lives as the full length of the string, plus much more. He pointed out that any painful events that we experience on this earth are only here for a moment, but that we have an eternity ahead of us.
He noted that the years where we will miss that loved one are but a blink of an eye, in perspective to being with them again for an eternity. He then said that the difference between an earthly life of five years or ninety-five years seems enormous to us, but that when seen from an eternal perspective, it is only a moment in time. He asked us to remember that reality when we have to deal with earthly pain and loss.
Now, I fully realize that this perspective can be hard to maintain, when we are in the middle of grief, but I do find some comfort when I remember the string and the bead. I hope you will as well.
Question/Comment: Please share any perspectives or techniques that have helped you deal with grief and loss.