Joy in Anticipated Loss
Reflection from Fr. Jeremy Merzweiler
Reflection by Maria
Many times, loss comes unanticipated, giving us little or no warning and no time to prepare. So what do we mean by “Joy in anticipated loss”? To me, this speaks of the choice of how we will face loss in our lives. At this time, when everyone has experienced some kind of loss, and we are worried about what else we might lose to this pandemic, it can be far too easy to give into fear. However, God does not give us a spirit of fear, but of courage and joy. So we have the chance to choose whether we will respond to this loss with fear and bitterness, or with proper grief and joyful trust that God is working for our good.
As Fr. Jeremy said in his video, it is so important to be grateful for what we have, and cling tightly to our loved ones, especially in these uncertain times. I want to take it a step further and say that we should also be grateful to God for everything that we have already lost and will potentially lose later on. I believe this can help get us into the mindset that everything is a gift, and that everything, even tragedy, can be made into something beautiful.
I’ve experienced this recently in my own life as my husband and I navigated the miscarriage of our first child. That loss left me heartbroken, and I definitely wasn’t prepared for how quickly our joy turned to sorrow. Initially, I tried to gloss over the pain and sadness I felt because our baby had only existed for about 3 weeks, and so hadn’t affected our life much. I felt I didn’t have a right to grieve. This mindset made me turn in on myself and bitterness consumed me for a while, until I finally let myself grieve properly. By processing through my thoughts and emotions, leaning on the support of family and friends, and giving my poor, bruised heart back to God, I eventually found peace again. While I’m still in the healing process, I can appreciate some of the things He is teaching me through this loss. I can say now that I am grateful my child was here, however briefly, and I can rejoice in knowing that our little one is with God.
To anticipate something can mean to wait passively for it to happen, or it can mean to prepare actively for it. As Christians, we are called to be ready to give up anything and anyone God asks of us, including our own lives. We should absolutely be grateful for everything and everyone we have in our lives, and continue to pray for protection, healing, and an end to this pandemic. But ultimately, we need to trust that God knows best and is working for our good, so that even if tragedy visits us, we can be ready to give everything over to Him.
A few questions to ponder in your mind, in your prayer or in your journal.
What are the things you are grateful for and want to embrace during this time of loss?
What do you need to focus on, or possibly refocus on, to help you grow deeper with the Lord?
Which family member do you feel closest to? Farthest from? How can you grow closer to them? Do you need to forgive them?
St. Rita of Cascia experienced many trials and losses in her life, including the initial loss of choice in her vocation and the deaths of her husband and sons, yet she never lost her trust in God. Have you experienced trials in your life when you trusted in God to bring you through it? Are you trusting God with your current situation? What does this trust look like?
What losses do you have to grieve? Whatever your loss consists of, it is real and deserves to be acknowledged. Allow yourself to begin to grieve the losses that you have experienced, and the things that you fear you will lose. What steps are you going to take to acknowledge this loss?
Ask God to give you His joy and show you the beauty in the things that you have lost and the things he may be calling you to lose.
A Song for your Soul
Run to the Father
*today's song is a cover of a song by Cody Carnes, performed by Michael Garvin
A Friend to Walk With
St. Rita Cascia
Thank you so much for all of the good gifts you have given me. I am so grateful for my life, my family and friends, and ________ (name something specific you are grateful for). Help me, Lord, to trust everything to You in this time of trial, and help me to know that You love me and are working all things for good.
St. Rita of Cascia, pray for us.