Nine years ago today I suddenly lost a friend and colleague. I’m not the only one who lost him. His family did, his other friends did, our whole church did and a denomination as well. I still miss him of course. I noticed in my Jesus Calling book that I’ve read every day since that time that I wrote on this day in 2011: Everything Shifts.
When I read those words today, I nodded. It sure did. Everything shifted that day. I’ve had other days like that including the day I got the phone call that the lump they biopsied was ductal carcinoma.
I’ve had other days of everything shifting in happy directions like our daughter telling us she was pregnant twice and everything tilted toward new life and the birth of two grandsons. Or the day our middle son got engaged to an awesome strong woman who seems just right for him. It happens when you get that job or don’t get it. It happens when you get accepted into that school or program of study. It happens when you meet a certain person and your heart races and life changes.
I’m sure you’ve had those Everything Shifts kinds of days too. I bet yours have been good and bad as well. There was before and there was after and nothing was the same again.
What do you do when Everything Shifts? How do you handle it? I don’t have all the answers but I know what helped me.
1. See it as the shift that it is. Sometimes we spend too much time regretting or wishing something had not occurred. We lament or second guess or try to reel in time. Sometimes a good shift is happening and we don’t even acknowledge that. A baby is coming…everything is different now.
2. Name it aloud. I lost a friend. I’m no longer healthy. I broke an ankle. We are adding a family member. There is power in naming the shift. It allows for both grief and celebration.
3. Lean on your healthy habits. Even good changes can upend us. In times when life is changing and the ground feels shaky beneath our feet, routine and ritual can save the day. In my early days of grief nine years ago, I literally could not figure out what to do. I ended up realizing that I needed to do what I always did. Get up, make coffee, write, pray, read the paper, walk. It took me twice as long in those early days to simply walk around my block. It was like I was trudging through wet concrete. Thank God I walked anyway. I just put one foot in front of the other and walked. This is one of the Big Reasons you and I need to have routines in our lives that are good for us. When Life Shifts it sure is good to have healthy habits locked in.
4. Trust God. At times of big changes we need to remember again that you and I cannot see the big picture. We just can’t. Instead of second guessing everything that happens it is better to trust in God’s presence and provision. I pray little prayers like this, God I cannot see why this happened or why it happened now but I trust you to be at work for good in all things.
5. Remember. Remembering with feeling is one of the traits that humans have that no other living creature possesses. We were created to be able to recall our moments, good or bad, with feeling. Remembering is part of the healing. Today I remember.
God thank you for life. Thank you for the people and events that change us. Help us when Everything Shifts to trust You and Your Big Picture. Amen
Dr. Cindy Ryan is a pastor, wife, mother of three, Mosa to Keller and Pace and breast cancer survivor. Check out her next speaking events at http://www.drcindyryanblog.com/events. Sign up for the Inner Circle extra monthly emails at http://www.drcindyryanblog.com/circle. The March 1 Top Ten list is coming soon.