The Next Right Thing

Recently, on a closed page for a bereavement support group, I shared the story of The Accident. One gal commented how sorry she was for my loss. I answered, “Thank you. The early days of this journey were excruciating! Over time, and by doing the next right thing, I have found healing, peace, and joy in Christ.”

Another gal asked, “What do you consider to be the Next Right Thing?”

That’s a great question! What is the Next Right Thing?

When dealing with grief, I believe the answer will vary according to the individual and the situation. The answer also changes daily, and it changes as we heal. That is why I said, “The NEXT Right Thing” rather than “THE Right Thing.” What was right for me two years ago is not the Next Right Thing for me today.

My son was twenty and we had a great relationship. He was killed instantly in a wreck four hours from our home. The Next Right Thing for me was and is very different from that for a mom who has cared for a young child with cancer or other illness for years, or a dad who was estranged from his forty-year-old daughter when she took her own life, or the parents faced with decisions regarding a child on life-support. I have a deep faith in Christ. My faith will cause me to do things differently than a parent who does not believe in Christ. I have a solid marriage that has lasted more than thirty-two years. The Next Right Thing will be different for a single mom or a dad going through a divorce when his child died.

We must all strive for wisdom to know what the Next Right Thing is for each of us. I have to seek wisdom about what I should do today without condemning myself for mistakes made yesterday.

There were times when the Next Right Thing was for me to sit and feel the pain and cry. Other times I needed to get up, wipe my eyes, and put the needs of my family first.

A few times, the Next Right Thing was to do what I had committed to do before The Accident, including a couple of triathlons with my husband in the months after The Accident. I cried most of the bike ride during one, but those tears helped me heal. Other times, I said “No” to invitations to participate in such activities.

My son was a dancer and actor. Early on, I could not go to shows in which he had acted during high school. I didn’t think I could go back into the theater after the memorial service, but the cast of West Side Story included many of his close friends. They were in rehearsals when The Accident happened. I went to that show. I’m glad I did, though it was hard. Afterwards, I hugged the necks of the cast members and cried with many of them. There have only been a couple of shows he had done that I have attended in these two years. It is too painful and I love my memories of Andrew in those shows.

In October of 2013, the Next Right Thing was to start a blog. This summer, Next Right Thing was to put my thoughts into two books. At times, the Next Right Thing is to simply read posts in the support groups to which I belong without comment. Other times I feel that I should comment on a particular post.

Some months the Next Right Thing is to travel with Ron. Other times I need to stay home and take of myself and our property.

Four of our children lived at home until about a year after the accident. It was a bit lonely for me those next few months when Ron had to travel. We now have a college gal who is paying her own way through school living with us. The Next Right Thing was to let her stay here at no charge, in part, so that I wouldn’t be alone so much when my husband travels without me.

This past week, two more folks moved in with us. It was the Next Right Thing to do.

Each of us has things that we will find too difficult. That’s okay. Don’t do those things. We will also each find things that challenge us but which we should do. Doing some hard things can help us grow and heal.

Tonight, the Next Right Thing for me is to watch Monday Night Football with my husband and our new housemates! I’m thinking the Next Right Thing may include some ice cream as well.

8 thoughts on “The Next Right Thing

  1. Yes one of the things that helped me most in the early days was Steven Curtis Chapman’s album “Beauty Will Rise” which includes the song “Take Another Step”. It basically echoes your thoughts here. And it’s so true. Often then, and still sometimes now, the thought of getting through the whole day, let alone week or month or year ahead, without my Kari, is just too much. But I can get through the the next minute, then hour and so on. And I can try to make it count for good while I’m here without her.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Some days we have to take it step by step. We know from scripture that we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works He prepared in advance for us to do. The hard part is obedience.


  2. Oswald Chambers, in his book My Utmost for His Highest, says that when you don’t know what to do, you pray and do the next thing. I’ve used that hundreds of times in my counseling office. You put one foot in front of another and do whatever comes next–even if it’s something as mundane as cleaning the toilet.


    • Yes! In the early days of my grief jury, I could not think beyond the next hour. Planning for next week was impossible. But I kept doing the next right thing…mostly.

      I did the wrong thing a few times as well. Fortunately, there is grace and forgiveness. “But because of His great love for me, God who is rich in mercy…” Oh! Wait! That is from Ephesians two. That’s a whole different post on a whole different blog.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Excellent! You summarize the challenging walk towards healing quite well…

    After our son died 7 years ago my sister shared a similar African phrase/idea which is what got me through dark days: what is the next “best thing?” And the next? And the next? I could not fathom surviving such grief long term but I COULD manage one moment or hour or day. ..

    Thanks for sharing this idea

    Liked by 1 person

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