MAKING SENSE OF MY GRIEF: You make me brave

Only one of my ears was willing to carry a ‘Hope’ earring today. The other one bluntly refused. The hole in my ear closed up at the back. I decided to wear only one earring to the ‘Searching for Sunshine’ course on depression that I am presenting for the next two days. There are days when you can only carry 50% hope. That was all I had capacity for today. The attendees passed the test of alertness to notice that something about me was odd. My tank feels empty today. Will I hear the message of my own ear?  Will I be accepting of this message?  Can I allow myself to be human and feel despondent?

The supervisor of the group did an icebreaker. Each participant got a balloon with a word written on it. My balloon said “brave”. I was reminded of my friend in Pretoria who forgot my birthday in April and turned forgetting into a beautiful surprise. She asked God what His first thought about me was when He designed me. His answer to her was: “She is brave.” She made a list of all the synonyms of brave from the Oxford dictionary and sent it to me in a voice note. To be brave means to be ready to face and endure danger or pain, showing courage, fearless, plucky, valiant, heroic, lion-hearted, bold, daring, adventurous, audacious, undaunted, unflinching, unshrinking, unafraid, spirited, resolute, determined.

Lord, today I do not feel brave enough to endure and face the unpleasant realities of André’s death. I do not want to be alone in this house where his voice became quiet. I do not want to present courses on depression and find soft words to disguise the horror of suicide. I want to stay in bed, pull the duvet over my head and cry until there is no water left in my body. I do not want to be brave today.

I am reminded of the song by Amanda Cook and Bethel Music which was my ‘anthem’ for a long time. “I have heard You calling my name; I have heard the song of love that You sing. So I will let You draw me out beyond the shore into your grace, ‘cause You make me brave, You call me out beyond the shore into the waves, no fear can hinder now the promises You made. As Your love, in wave after wave, crashes over me, for You are for us, You are not against us, Champion of Heaven, You made a way for all to enter in.”

Joshua 1:9-11 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” So Joshua ordered the officers of the people: “Go through the camp and tell the people, Get your provision ready. Three days from now you will cross the Jordan here to go in and take possession of the land the Lord your God is giving you for your own.”

Lord I will hold onto You. You make me brave, strong and courageous for however long my three days are before I cross the Jordan and take hold of my new promised land for my next season. Thank You that I have permission to feel all of my feelings and that I do not need to rush grieving André. There will be days when I can only carry one earring of hope and that is also okay.

Annette de la Porte

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