(Originally penned 9/29/2017, a couple weeks out from losing my grandma and my aunt a day apart and having a breakup a few days later. Enter intense grief, again. I was incredibly raw but also attempting, poorly, to keep it all together.)
We have a tendency to hang on to remains, don't we? Like these flowers that were beginning to dry up and die, we have things in our lives that are past their prime, no longer useful. We say, the flowers are still kind of pretty, right? No need to toss them out yet? But they are decaying. Is that something to hang on to? Is that something to treasure or is that something to let go of? I am not speaking of literal flowers-- I am speaking of the other dead things we cling to in our lives. We think it's not an issue as these things fester and rot, and all the while we hold them close.
We might think anger will protect us from the hurt. Take me for an example-- just this week I was struggling with white hot RAGE at my husband for leaving me by dying (I assure you his death was not his fault). I sat at his grave on Tuesday, crying and yelling at him, pounding my hands against a cold hard gravestone telling him he shouldn't have left because "I NEED YOU TO HOLD ME! I NEED YOU HERE!" I was wrapped up in being mad at him for "abandoning me" because for the moment, it felt better than acknowledging that there was, in fact, not a soul to blame for my situation. Perhaps the dead thing we're holding on to is an unhealthy relationship-- whether that be a friendship or something else that is toxic and hurting our soul. We know that this is damaging to us but we just can't quite manage to cut ties for whatever reason. It could be that the remains is an old way of living, bad habits we've had through the years-- such as an unhealthy relationship with food, working too many hours, sleeping all the time, self-mutilation, substance abuse... you name it. We cling to these comforts thinking they will satisfy but they don't.
Eventually dead things always reek of death, don't they?
We must let go of what is dead to make room for new growth. It's painful having the dead things in our lives stripped away because we think we need them-- but it is freeing and beautiful and so much better once they are gone. In Philippians 3:13b-14Paul states, "one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus".
Shake off the death you’re shackling yourself to. Be free.