Touched by loss. Empowered through community.

My Favorite Distraction

Monday, August 28, 2017
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My Favorite Distraction


There are myriad ways to distract yourself from grief - many worthwhile, productive, and even delightful ways to outrun the inevitable moments of pain. 

I’m fairly certain that we widowed folks have a special skill set in this area.  We have all the usual responsibilities and healthy distractions that we can count as blessings – our children, our parents, our friends, our jobs.  If we add in other pastimes and self-care, our plates are brimming, and it can feel like we’ve evaded the looming specter of grief.  I personally have found tremendous joy and satisfaction in this feeling of overcoming the odds. 

George Henry Lewes once wrote that “the only cure for grief is action.” One glance at my last few frenetic months, and you could safely assume that this is fast becoming my life’s mantra.   I meet and know others who hold this view as well.  We are drawn to action in our culture, viewing stagnation and immobility as certain failure…  And so we fill our days and hours.

In just this one summer I have seen 45 live bands with friends, met and spent time getting to know three amazing men, dared to start online dating, went on a road trip through 6 states with three of my girlfriends, learned how to maintain my own yard when my son was away at camp, started going to the gym more often, spent countless hours helping my daughter sort and pack for college, and took up blogging.  Sorrow has no chance of catching up with this woman!  I have distracted myself with the best this life can offer.

But have I really? 

I’ve allowed myself very little time to just be still, to sit quietly with my own thoughts - to glance to the heavens and seek God in prayer.  Maybe I’m afraid of what I may find there.  Maybe I simply don’t know how to slow down. 

On certain Sunday mornings I have found myself in our small Anglican church, surrounded by some of the most loving and compassionate people I know.  They have walked with my family through the deepest days of despair, through my husband’s sudden diagnosis of stage four colon cancer, and through his death 18 months later.  These amazing people steadied our carts when we were careening off the tracks. 

In the liturgy we repeat each week, we whisper truths that pierce my heart in the purest, most healing ways.  This is the space that I love best.  My favorite distraction from grief is no distraction at all.  Instead, sitting quietly in my safest place, I can stare sorrow squarely in the face and sit beside my fears without the urge to run.  God whispers, “peace, be still”, and for that one hour I can acquiesce.


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