I wanted to try and continue my reflections today on my journey through grief. We are trying to prepare our hearts for the celebration of Christ’s Birth. We know there will be gatherings around an abundant table prepared for our family and friends. These times can be especially challenging as you grieve the loss of a loved one and remember all those treasured holidays of the past. You can feel pressure to be super festive and joyous when you just can’t imagine anything but pain and loss.
The work of art I have chosen for this week is the Ghent Altarpiece. Considered to be one of the worlds greatest art treasures. There is a lot to see here and I hope you will enjoy listening to the detailed description on the video below. It is a 7 min that is well worth your attention.
To spend a little time with this famous scene is touching. As you listen to the video below, the commentators will open your eyes to a whole new world of treasures to be found within this painting.
“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, forever and ever!”Revelations 5: 13
But for our purposes, I wanted to zoom in on this little band of angels that are surrounding the throne of God with singing and praise.
As I look over the faces I notice how similar they are and I think, this could be different versions of the same person…
and from that thought I continue to notice how their expressions are all different and not very joyous.
If I were to examine them I would have to say they are intense–distracted–tired–awestruck–peaceful–bored–
one of them is actually look at us, another is looking away, one is looking at the music, another is looking at Jesus with fondness. It is a real mixed bag of emotions.
From there I think to myself, “this could be me” at any given time. I can be feeling all of those things and then some. And trying to sort through the myriad of emotions and focus my thoughts on the beautiful amazing gift of Jesus as our Savior, can be difficult.
One of the most important practices I maintained in those early days of grief, and even now when I feel things slipping, is I try to sit down at the end of the day and write in my journal. As I reflect on the day I try to think of something that I had enjoyed that day. This was very difficult at first. Sometimes I could only think of very small moments, but the more I practiced noticing my enjoyment, the more things I was able to include on my list.
I enjoyed my walk today.
I enjoyed talking to one of my friends…
I enjoyed listening to that book or that piece of music.
I enjoyed hearing the birds singing this morning.
It was important to notice and give myself permission to enjoy something and yes thank God for the blessing of the nice weather or the dear friend who listened.
So when I look at this band of singers, I notice that even though they might night be feeling very angelic in their expression, they are still there surrounding the thrown with praise.
Some days all we can do is show up.
There will be other days, and there isn’t a time-table for this, that you will suddenly realize that you are singing because you feel the joy of God’s love in your heart once more.
May God’s Peace Be With You!