I have, over the years, enjoyed running. For me, a run starts out with a bit of pain as the muscles, lungs, and various ligaments begin their work. After putting forth the effort for several minutes, the pain begins to diminish, although never completely go away. Eventually a joy in the exercise takes over in which my mental state disregards my physical state.
I think this is where I am at in grief. The pain does not completely go away, and sometimes I step on that rock, or land on my ankle funny and the pain that shoots through my body reminds me of the work that I’m still doing. I still recognize sorrow’s presence, I still understand that I hurt, but…I can smile at a memory, I can find warmth in remembering, and I am thankful for the blessing of Jana in my life.
Slowly, progressively, I have been arranging my heart, and it’s inhabitants, to accommodate others, including a romantic interest. There is a place being built for someone special to me, someone that I can love, someone that is happy being the recipient of my affection.
I love Jana, and always will, but as I have described to others, I do not love the physical person of Jana, now…I love the memory, the time, and the gift of Jana. It’s different. There is no object of my affection, no body, no flesh to love on and adore. I have learned to love her differently.
Of course, it’s all a process. The switch doesn’t get thrown overnight. There are emotions and feelings involved, which are always a bit messy. The landscape of my heart is getting organized, though, which I am grateful for. There are hard times to come, a couple of firsts left, and I still need to sort clothes, jewelry, and other items. The pain roots me out and doesn’t hold back at times.
So, in short, “No.” No, I’m not done…no I am not “better.” No, I am not pain-free. But… Yes, I am enjoying life again. Yes, I have much hope for the future. Yes, I trust that not only has the Lord carried me these months, but He will continue to guide me through. And, yes, grief has been accomplishing it’s work and moving me toward a place of wholeness again. I am running, feeling the pain, but choosing to find joy in the work.