Just thinking…I’ve thought about this a bunch the past few weeks…
I’ve heard some say, “people I thought were my friends have disappeared since the death of my child (or parent or spouse or sibling or friend).” As if it’s all the fault of those other people. “They don’t care about me and my pain. They don’t call or invite me out any more because they are jerks.”
Here’s the thing: We are not who we were; we are changed.
I am not who I was; I am changed. I’m not defined by my grief, but I am forever changed by the loss of those I love – my parents, my in-laws, then my son. And in the past three years, a few dear friends to addiction, accidents, and cancer. The death of someone you care about impacts you in ways you cannot immediately understand.
Maybe, just maybe, it’s not that friends disappeared because they don’t care about me or because they are jerks…maybe it’s that I’ve changed. I’m not the me they liked and spent time with any more. I’m different.
Maybe people, ladies, moms, young women…People I used to go to lunch with, call and check on, see at Bible study and chat with, wave at while shopping for groceries, sit with at homeschool events…Maybe those things we did, things we talked about…Maybe they were just fillers. Maybe I hung around and chatted with those gals only because I didn’t understand what really matters. Maybe I was filling my life, my time, my mind with trivial things because thinking about…or doing anything about…the major things in my life was just too hard.
I’m not saying the people were trivial, people were not – are not ever – fillers. People matter; people are never trivial. People are never just fillers.
I’m saying things I spent time and energy thinking and talking about were fillers. I spent my time and energy on things and ideas and thoughts that were trivial, that don’t really matter.
The things we chatted about…daily minutia of life , tv shows, workouts, the latest homeschool activities, politics, the best place for a manicure…things that won’t matter a hundred years from, or even two years from now…
The things I got upset about…clothes on the floor, dirty dishes, teenagers with mouths, kids getting home late, my husband getting home late…their behavior rather than their hearts…
The things I spent time thinking about…the jerk that cut me off, my dream house, what I should’ve said when that gal said something ugly, other things I won’t mention…things that are not true, noble, right, pure, lovely, excellent or praiseworthy …..
Maybe these trivial things, these fillers, were important to me, maybe I spent time and energy on them, because I didn’t want to think about or do anything about the truly important things — things like my attitude, my anger, my resentments, my thoughts, my sin.
I didn’t want to think about or deal with my own sin, in part, because I knew I could always deal with it tomorrow. And I didn’t want to think about those things because dealing with sin is hard and painful. I put off the hard, painful things until tomorrow.
Tomorrow I could repent. Tomorrow I could work on changing my thought life, my attitude, the way I spoke to my kids or husband, the way I judged others, the way I gossiped, or spoke out of turn…tomorrow.
I spent time and energy on things that weren’t really important, on fillers.
But now….Now I know tomorrow may not come.
Maybe now those things we used to talk about, those fillers, the things we seemed to have in common, don’t hold my attention.
Maybe now those things, those fillers, don’t seem to matter to me in comparison to eternity…
Maybe now I know I may not have tomorrow to repent of my own sin, to ask forgiveness, to change my thoughts and behavior.
Maybe now I think about Heaven and eternity because people I love are already experiencing it.
Maybe it’s not that those people whom I spent time with, talked about trivial things with, gossiped with, debated politics with…maybe it’s not that they abandoned me but that I’ve changed, what matters to me has changed radically!
Maybe it’s that I don’t want to waste one minute chatting about trivial things when lives are at stake, lives are hanging in the balance, people are living in hell on this earth and I have experienced freedom in Christ!
The death of my son and others has changed me. Maybe those gals who don’t call or come around don’t like the changes in me.
Maybe the change in me is a very good thing.