The Gift of Grief – Asbury University
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The Gift of Grief

January 16, 2023

Hannah Swanson ’12
Executive Coaching Project Manager

I am learning the gift of grief. There was a time not so long ago that I wanted it to stop. I wanted my grief journey to be over and to move forward. Those days still come, but I’m more at peace with this life and loss, more settled in how it’s shaped me and softened some edges.

As the colors of fall burst forth and sunlight dances across the leaves, one could mistake this celebration for new life. One unacquainted with the change of seasons might be surprised to know this is the leaves’ goodbye. The invitation to welcome change must include openness to grief. Growth and relationship require a million goodbyes. Yesterday’s celebrations, may be today’s funerals. I think of the disciples’ confusion at Jesus’ leaving, an understandable dialogue, “No, this can’t be right. Please, stay a bit longer. I’m not yet ready.”

I’m beginning to befriend the feelings I once feared most: uncertainty and grief. As I learn to embrace the daily practice of letting go – we love a good paradox – I experience being held by the divine. I am finding rest in place of striving. I spend less time grappling with the responsibility of trying to make something last and remember to see the goodness in the seed’s death that gives way to future life.

The invitation to surrender the way I thought it’d be and receive the present—Emmanuel, God with Us, what an extraordinary gift, his withness. No matter where I find myself, each breath is a reminder and invitation to be present to this great love, who weeps with us in grief.

I pray that you might pause to be still, to breathe deeply, and become aware that He is closer than the air filling your lungs. What invitation do you sense from Him today?