I have been dealing with this unimaginable thing called grief for over a year now. To what do I compare it? It reflects the experience of surfing. Surfers float on their boards, in the open water, waiting for the right time, the right wave, the right ride. Surfers can’t ride every wave. Waves are coming and coming while they wait for the right one, other waves are crashing on the shoreline while they surf their ride of choice.
Surfing is a process. Grieving is a process. Like surfers, grievers practice waiting and the riding of something similar to the power of a wave. Floating in the ocean of life, we grievers can’t ride every wave of grief that comes our way. We have to float, wait, and live in our life-ocean. We have to get out of bed, do the things everybody else is doing, go to our jobs, check the mail, and rake the leaves. We can’t ride every wave of grief or we would stop living, and those we have lost would not want that for us. We still have a purpose, a mission, in the here and now. That may seem untrue, especially without the ones we love no longer on the mission with us. Yet, we are still called. Grievers are still beckoned to a life of faith, hope, and love.
Grieving is now part of our purpose, too. We get on our boards, paddle to where we know the waves begin. And we wait. And wait. And then we paddle, and the wave with its surging power lifts us and our boards, and we ride. We grieve. We cry. We long for those we miss and we want back. This is an intense moment of grief. The wave continues its march to the shore. We stay on it. Our sadness is breathtaking. The ride ends. The wave crashes and we re-enter the water, and get back doing what everybody else is doing. We go to work, check the mail, and rake the leaves.
Our purpose is faith, hope, love, and grief. We are grievers. We did not ask for this purpose. But we now have these surf boards, and we need to learn to use them; we need to learn how to wait and live again, and we need to learn how to ride the right wave when it comes.