Grieve the Old life
I don’t know where you find yourself. I hope it is well because I am well. My daughter is newly born and healthy. My son adjusting well and receiving the attention he needs while my wife nurses herself and our baby to health. Life is good, like the T-Shirt states. Meanwhile, I find myself in the peculiar position of analyzing the differences in this go around as parents and the last. Certainly, my wife and I are older, and we have a second child. However, what stands out to me is not the external differences but the internal ones. I have become a different person, and I am finding it difficult to let my old self, my old life die out. It is difficult to grieve the old life.
To give you a concrete example of what I mean when I say grieve the old life I am going to compare my summer from the birth of my son and this current summer.
My son had just been born, we had just moved back to Knoxville and my wife and I had 3 months to get this baby to sleep through the night. No mean feat depending on the baby, but ours accomplished it with time to spare. I was loosely working on my first book, learning how to be a parent, and playing videogames. I wasn’t blogging or on social media at all. I was just floating through life with little care in the world. I didn’t see the world around me beyond my immediate experience, and I just wanted a job that I could clock in and clock out too. I just wanted to be paid enough for my wife to swap positions and be able to be the stay at home parent. I thought that was what she most wanted, and I wanted to give it to her.
Today I have a blog. I post weekly, though not this June, and I am working on building a social media presence… platform… community… framework… I am not quite sure yet. The social aspect of social media still seems to elude me. I blame my introverted nature though it isn’t quite the excuse I hope for. I finished and published that book I was working on, and I am working out the ideas of my next book.
Most importantly, or perhaps most radically different, is how much more world I see. I see the hurt and afflicted everywhere. I can’t unsee them. So, I have to express the vision I have. There is only one way available to me, writing. I write so much more now than I did in 2016. When I think about it, I am ashamed of the time I wasted. Still, there is this piece of me that longs for 2016. I wish I could be visionless, lost in the world of media consumption, but that’s not who I am anymore.
Maybe this is what other Millennials call a quarter-life crisis. Growing up finally smacks you between the eyes and you realize that the things that mattered to you so much for so long don’t. I imagine that’s what happens in the mid-life crisis too. You realize that job you put 10-15 years into doesn’t matter as much as your kids who are now a little estranged from you.
I probably cannot underestimate how much this growing up will affect the rest of my life. To look out at almost 30 and rechart the course of your life. Perhaps it’s a good thing that it happens at 30 instead of 50. My kids are itty bitty (cue cute pic below), and I am young enough to re-energize myself into an area of my life that I can care about for the next 50 years. When you think about engaging for 50 years from the point of a 30-year-old I will probably die by the time I need to completely re-examine my path going forward. That’s pretty good. Isn’t that what our parents have wanted for us? To actually live a life to the full, one we enjoy and gets the most out of us?
I think that is what Jesus wants for us. He wants us to have a full life, but to get there we have to grieve the old life. We have to let go of all the things that used to seem so important. We live a newer, fuller, and better life because we have let go of the things of the past. To let go, you have to grieve. Perhaps that what the book of Lamentations reminds us too. Without Jeremiah letting go of the glory of Jerusalem, he cannot see the hope of Christ. Which is better? To have Jesus or the Law? Paul and almost every Christian since would argue Jesus.
Grief in the Church
Maybe we don’t have enough grief in the church. When we bring people in we don’t grieve their old life with them. We don’t help them move into the newness of life. We expect them to simply to accept the new life and empty themselves. Perhaps that’s why we try to make disciples the way we do. Today most Christians expect non-Christians to fill themselves with Christian traditions, morals, and ethics. Rather we need to accept people into the family, grieve with them, and then fill them up with the Holy Spirit.Christians need to accept people into the family, grieve with them, and then fill them up with the Holy Spirit. Click To Tweet
End of Grief series
“Grieve the Old Life” is where I end this short series on grief. For the time being it is the most impactful grief I have. Maybe you can relate because your life is changing in radical ways for you. Maybe you have hit puberty, lost a loved one, hit a quarter, mid or retirement life crisis. Whatever it is, I hope this short series has shown you that grief is not something to be feared. It is a part of life. It can be a good and healthy part of life even when it is most painful.
I am signing off today for the next month. I have a cute wonderful new daughter to help usher into her first few months of life. This critical phase of her life also coincides with my own new stretch. A month to contemplate my family and my own personal journey is something I sorely need. I hope that you too will take a Sabbath even if it is only a weekly one. Grief might find you, but you can know that it might just be the best, most restful thing you can do.