I admit, I am not much of a gardener, nor someone who has say, "a green thumb." I get the general idea and appreciate people who do this well but so far, personally, I have not succeeded in this area. Maybe someday this will captivate me more, but I'd be surprised and for now would rather just go outside and explore places where nature does its thing.
Still, I find myself currently thinking of gardening terms in relation to my grief journey. Specifically, the word that comes to mind this week is "tilling." This is a term for "turning over and breaking up the soil" to prepare for what's next. If looking at a gardening guide, tilling is described as something that is needed when mixing amendments or new things into the soil.
This seems to be what's happening in my life lately. As I near the end of seven months of processing my husband's absence, and a year of living with the fact that he had brain cancer, I find myself digging deeper into my grief journey, processing new layers almost daily.
I am by no means an expert on all things grief, but have explored a lot of the emotional space from feeling lost and alone in my own home, to taking time to recover and enjoy life, to sorting through boxes and closets filled with memories and so much more.
This spring, I find myself exploring new areas of life, friendships and leaning into my "new status" as a widow. It is often a very confusing time - where my emotions and thoughts battle with how to keep moving forward while wanting to hold tight to so much good that has been part of my story. I keep trying to "figure out" how to live in a dual reality of loving what was but considering what could be.
As someone who typically lands in the optimistic camp of life, genuinely acknowledging grief for both the good and very hard, can be a tricky balance. I see the good that God is doing and has done in my life and heart this year and I am thankful for his faithfulness and comfort. Yet, my heart is still hurt - and that healing takes time. It takes time and even a lot of grace as I till through the emotions and messy layers. I don't really like that it takes time. (Patience . . . ugh!)
How long will I be in this tilling process? Who knows, but it's the concept for now. I know there is good that takes root and grows out of these seasons - in both the fun, silly, weird, confusing and hard parts of it.
Life and grief is definitely interesting.
There are many references to soil in the Bible, but for today I find encouragement in the words below which remind me again that God's story is way bigger than my story:
"For as the soil makes the sprout come up and a garden causes seeds to grow, so the Sovereign Lord will make righteousness and praise spring up before all nations." – Isaiah 61:11
Hi! It's Jenn Brown, writing my story that is now slightly different as we enter a season of new grief. On September 30, 2019, my dear husband Josh passed away after battling brain cancer.