It is well. Be strong. Take heart. A day at a time. God is good. These are all lines we frequently use (more like overuse) when attempting to lift someone’s spirit. I have had an overdose of them over the last few weeks. I know it’s mostly being said from a good place so I take it positively. I now realise that I am also guilty of uttering these words many times over but not with the weight of their true meaning.
My father’s demise has made it clear that I say these words to people without much thought. Does that mean I don’t care ? or that I am offering fake comfort? I don’t believe so. Sadness and grief are uncomfortable to be around especially for the one offering support to the grieving. So we say words like this to reduce the loudness coming from the awkward silence. You feel obliged to talk yet you don’t know what to say. It’s better to just maintain shalap.
The story of Job in the Bible draws this picture well. After being terrorized by the evil one his friends came to console him. Initially, they said pole only with their physical presence, no talking. That was going well until they began to speculate aloud about Job’s afflictions. It was downhill from there. Now with my dad gone, I’m more sympathetic to Job’s friends. They thought they were helping by speaking yet they seemed to make matters worse when they did.
Sometimes showing up is the best form of support we can offer someone. But our human nature often betrays us and we end up breaking our silence. I (and my family) are very grateful for all the words (and even songs) of encouragement we received when dad was unwell and even after He transitioned to eternal rest. Being an extrovert I did not tire from hearing all the words of comfort and encouragement.
Something strange began to happen though. The more I heard these words repeated over and over again, some of them began coming to life. C.S Lewis said, “the death of a beloved is an amputation”. A day at a time, is a quote that has become a crutch for me to move forward since I became an amputee on the 8th of may this year.
Losing my father breathed life into those words and they are now my standard operating procedure. My days feel long lately but half a day or even an hour at a time is helping me cope. Telling you my plans for next week is hard because I haven’t thought that far. So it’s a day at a time literally.
Grieving my dad and attempting to adjust to life without him has somehow released me from the pressures of tomorrow. I like the feeling of freedom that comes with it. Energies required for speculating (more like worrying) on what may happen in the future are now redirected to getting through the present moment as best as possible.
Matthew 6:26 reads – “look at the birds free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds”. I think this is the closest I’ve come to living out this scripture. Yaani birds just get up and food is provided for the day. All they have to do is fly to it. And yet I often worry as if I’m of lesser value than a bird.
Death indeed can force us to loosen our grip on this life. We hold onto things so tightly as a strategy to secure tomorrow and yet tomorrow is not guaranteed. We even run the risk of choking kesho in the process. My focus is now. Like right now. A moment at a time. And that’s just fine. Seems I’m still learning lessons from my father even in his absence. I’d like this lesson not to fade away with time.
It is well folks.