On Grief and Growth
On August 30, 2012, I held who I thought was my baby girl for the first time. I fed her. I rocked her. I gave her to her birth mother after she changed her mind, and my husband and I returned back to Virginia. We had no baby, but we did have some extra gas money we received from returning several baby items before heading home from another state completely disappointed and numb over our loss.
In my grief, I also had a determination. I was determined not to let this current death of a dream destroy me. Less than a month later, I signed my mother an I up for an art class at our local botanical gardens. My mother is one of the most artistic people I know, and I have always loved to draw. It also met a need within me to spend my time doing something new and positive that I would not have been able to do if I was a new mom.
One afternoon during the course of the class I set outside on my front porch to attempt to utilize some of my new skills in a drawing of a plant that anchored our front porch. I spent hours, because no baby was crying for me, drawing and erasing and drawing and erasing and pondering and staring and shading.
Above is the picture I created in my state of grief on September 21, 2012. Above is a picture of grief and growth.
When you look at the shading, may it remind you that when we walk through moments of great loss and struggle, some days are darker than other. However, there are joyous light moments mixed in as well.
When you look at the leaves, may it remind you that sometimes we are completely bent over with our burdens of loss and emptiness. Other leaves are standing up strong from the warmth of the sun much like the warmth and support we receive from the love of others around us holding us up in the midst of it all. Then there are the flowers. The life that grows up around our darkest and hardest moments. The growth that opens up over time and radiates out from our soul into the world. Maybe our grief has changed a part of us into something better. Maybe we have been able to help someone else who has gone through the same sorrow and loss as us along the way. Maybe in the midst of grief we found a new passion or new direction for our lives. Maybe, we just clung on to God for dear life and grew closer to Him blossoming in our faith.
For me, the most beautiful flower of all grew out of our grief in the winter of 2014, when we were blessed with a baby girl we call our daughter.
If you find yourself in the darkest part of the potted plant of grief this week, know that you are being prayed for by others, that God is wrapping mighty arms of love and peace around you, and growth is happening all around you creating beauty in the midst of great pain.
"The Lord is near to the brokenhearted, and saves those who are crushed in spirit." Psalm 34:18