Gratitude Day 15 // Gratitude in our Losses

Image by Cailin Valente

Image by Cailin Valente

Job 1:21 Psalm 23

When you experience major trauma or a loss in your life, it’s hard to find any reason to be thankful. Whether you lost someone or something that was very important to you, it’s completely okay to just curl up in a ball and cry. Acknowledge the sadness. But through the tears that you cry, remember this verse from Job:

“Naked I came forth from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I go back there. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord!”

That particular verse rang out in my head when I was thinking about the first time I’ve experienced the death of a loved one. I’ve lost people in my life as a kid, but I didn’t fully understand the pain of loss and grief until my last year in college, when a beloved friend passed away. He was a priest who lived in my college, retired from teaching, but still an essential part of campus life. He was always there in the cafeteria during lunch, telling tall tales and cracking jokes with everyone. To me, he was the grandfather I never had, since both of my grandfathers have passed away. However, he was an old man and eventually, God called him back home.

I took the loss hard. At first, I set it aside and tried to press on with my work because I was on my last year of college. Whenever I walked onto campus, I would wonder why nobody else seemed to feel the pain I had. I couldn’t even go into the cafeteria for a while, knowing that he wasn’t going to be there. Eventually, the pain I felt caught up with me and I sought counseling to help me deal with my grief.

Later on, there was a memorial service in honor of my friend. I was surprised at how many people attended until I remembered that he taught and served at my university for a really long time, which meant that he made tons of friends along the way. One alum gave a testimony about how he would jokingly flirt with her and her lady friends while they had dinner. She also said that she feels like he is in Heaven now, ice skating with the angels. I couldn’t help but agree with her.

When I realized that other people understood how I felt, it was easier for me to cope with the loss. I knew that I wouldn’t see my friend in the cafeteria anymore, but I could always ask him to pray for me. I also knew that I could remember the time that I had with him. I was blessed that God brought him into my life and now I am even more blessed knowing that I have a friend in Heaven praying for me.

Think of somebody that you’ve lost, either through their death or because time drifted you apart. No matter how far apart we are from the ones that we love, we can be thankful the time that we had with them. There’s this wonderful quote from John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars that puts to words the way that I feel about being grateful in the losses that I’ve had:

“There are infinite numbers between 0 and 1. There's .1 and .12 and .112 and an infinite collection of others. Of course, there is a bigger infinite set of numbers between 0 and 2, or between 0 and a million. Some infinities are bigger than other infinities...I cannot tell you how thankful I am for our little infinity. I wouldn't trade it for the world. You gave me a forever within the numbered days, and I'm grateful.”

Today’s featured song echoes the verse from Job:

“Bless the Lord Who Gives and Takes” by Kristen Gilles. If you have a lost loved one in mind, I will pray for them, and please pray for the people I’ve lost as well.

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let your perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace, Amen.

Stay grateful, dearest sisters in Christ!

Study Questions

1.Have you ever lost anyone close to you? How did you deal with that grief?

2.What are some ways people approach the grieving in a well-meaning but wrongful way? How do you think people should help those in mourning?

3.If you’ve cut yourself off from someone, why? Is there any way you can be grateful for them? If so, how?