“ When the heart grieves for what it has lost, the spirit rejoices over what it has left”
I came upon this anonymous quote the other day and it caught my attention. Every experience and person we encounter blesses us. Even a bad relationship can leave behind something of value. We can learn and heal something about ourselves – if we’re open to receiving the lesson.
I want to change that quote to read… the spirit rejoices over what it has gained. In grieving the soul is transformed. Carl Jung said, “ Embrace your grief, your soul will grow.”
Scripture tells us the same in a different way, “ More than that we rejoice in our sufferings knowing that suffering produces character and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” Romans 5:3-5
Have you ever had an experience in life that was so profoundly difficult, perhaps even traumatic that cost so much? Now the harder question – what did you do with that experience and where have you “put it?” Has it been stuffed away only to erupt at some inconvenient time later ? Or, did you wrestle with it, grieve with it, sit with it, pray to God about it, and do your work with it to transform, learn, and make meaning? That is no easy feat and yet it represents the greatest courage to take that road.
Life is always trying to grow us up, heal us and make us more self aware and conscious. With this growth comes confidence, self trust and self love. Has someone done you wrong? People are not all well and they can hurt and betray. Maybe you woke up and found yourself in a relationship with a toxic person. Learning that a person you once loved or trusted is toxic is devastating, but it’s only one layer. Learning about why you fell for that person is heroic work where you come face to face with your own wounds. Even if you didn’t cause those wounds you must take responsibility for them, because those are your lessons to learn on your path of life.
Life brings so many opportunities and chances for redemption and growth in wisdom. Maybe the lesson is about having boundaries, or listening to the red flags and trusting your intuition, or really taking time to get to know someone. Growing in self-knowledge is the best way to stop hurting yourself and others.
The lessons – the freedom from doing the hard work and owning your truths – is so liberating. Don’t give up or settle for less until you get there. You’ll know when you’re there because you will feel deep peace and trust in yourself. When you can genuinely hold your head high with no shame and love and forgive yourself it’s time to celebrate – and, with God’s help, see the other with compassion too.