FARGO — One June morning in 2017, I received a phone call from our son at Camp Grafton. A storm with 80 mph winds came through as he ate breakfast in a large tent. Just as he looked up, the center pole came crashing down on his plate, narrowly missing his head. He escaped the tent, ran across a field and took cover in a trailer. A month later, I talked to a friend in Costco. He has a friend who was also at Camp Grafton that day. That friend told him about a soldier that almost died in that storm. His friend couldn’t believe the soldier made it out of the tent as stakes were yanking out of the ground and other items flying through the air. I told my friend, “That soldier was my son!”
Later that same day our daughter, Brooke, was riding her new bike. Her old bike was too small for her. Her new bike was a little big for her. She was still getting used to it. She and her friend decided to race bikes down our block and during the race they bumped into each other. Brooke took a tumble and received a concussion. She didn’t remember where we had just gone for lunch; a few hours later she threw up her lunch. It scared me and my wife, Teri, a ton.
On the very same day both of our kids faced potentially difficult or devastating physical trauma. It still scares me when I think about it. That night in bed, still in shock, I said to my wife, “Our lives could have been forever changed today, not in a good way.”
For many of you when I say “our lives could have been forever changed, not in a good way” your mind goes back to a day when your life was “forever changed, not in a good way.” You received a devastating health report. You said good bye to someone you deeply loved. You got the phone call about the passing of a close family member or friend.
The topic of grief and loss includes more than death or a health crisis — there is a loss of a job, the end of a marriage, betrayal from a close friend, financial loss… in fact all change feels like loss. Sometimes even what seems like a small change can rock our world because an accumulation of small changes add up and feel like a big loss.
One key to healing from grief and loss is getting to a point of acceptance, not getting stuck in denial, anger, bargaining or depression. I have discovered, we cycle through those other stages randomly, in various order, even after we land in acceptance, and that is OK. The key is not to get stuck in any of these stages but to get back to acceptance.
If you’ve said "yes" to Christ, he is your leader and healer. And, the great news is you have a Savior who experienced loss and tragedy and knows how to help you. He endured betrayal, false testimony, crucifixion and the murder of his relative, John the Baptist. And I believe Jesus can help you get to acceptance quicker than you can on your own. I’m excited to share another tool to help us with grief and loss next Sunday!