This week marks 30 years since my father died. When you have a good Daddy, thirty years is a long time to live without him. But intertwined in missing him are the memories of his hugs, with a jiggly squeeze at the end, the sight of his dimples when he told tall tales, his love, his wisdom, and the lessons he taught me about life and faith.
Perhaps now, more than ever, in the face of a lengthening pandemic, we have a heightened awareness of those who are important to us. Many times, the lives of those we love are much briefer than we imagined they would be. I mention this not to set a negative tone, but as a reminder to relish the relationships you hold dear and nurture them.
Give Thanks for the Memories
I am so thankful for time with family and friends and for the opportunity to continue to make memories. One of my greatest joys is gathering our family for a meal. In the midst of the noise, chaos, and occasional tears of little people, I experience great happiness. After they leave, I replay activities, words spoken, and squeals of laughter. I want to soak up every moment of our together time and relish it for days.
Perhaps your life is dotted with unpleasant memories. Often, it’s hard to move beyond those scars and engage emotional forward motion. But you do have the ability to create new, pleasant memories and wrap yourself in them like a warm blanket on a cold day. Make memories, remember the good, and give thanks.
Work on the Broken
Sometimes, relationships are hard. Certain relationships take more time and effort than others. As far as it is possible for you, work on the relationship. But if a person demands you do all the giving, or is abusive to you in any way, accept that what is broken in the relationship is beyond your ability to mend. Do not allow guilt to overwhelm you or force you into doing something that is detrimental to you emotionally or physically.
If you need to ask for forgiveness, do so. If you need to forgive, mentally release the person who offended you from the offense. You have done all you can, so live in peace.
Often, we get so caught up in planning and looking ahead to what’s next that we fail to savor today. Make it your goal to see and cherish those around you, to look for ways to encourage, find joy in simple pleasures, and pray for those struggling with life challenges. Each time you enjoy what is happening right now, you increase your capacity to see the positive aspects of life and weed out the negatives. Live today and love others fully.
Each time you enjoy what is happening right now, you increase your capacity to see the positive aspects of life.
Focus Forward with Hope
Grief is tough, a process that never totally resolves. Yet, for me, despite the missing, there is the assurance of seeing my loved ones again. That hope of eternity is what keeps me going. Hope is the catalyst for forward motion, for seeing good even when life is hard, trusting God, and making the most of each day.
But you don’t have a clue what tomorrow may bring. For your fleeting life is but a warm breath of air that is visible in the cold only for a moment and then vanishes! Instead you should say, “Our tomorrows are in the Lord’s hands and if he is willing we will live life to its fullest and do this or that” (James 4:14-15 TPT).
Hope is the catalyst for forward motion, for seeing good even when life is hard, trusting God, and making the most of each day.
Candy Arrington is a writer, blogger, speaker, and freelance editor. She often writes on tough topics with a focus on moving through, and beyond, difficult life circumstances. Candy has written hundreds of articles, stories, and devotionals published by numerous outlets including: Inspiration.org, Arisedaily.com, CBN.com, Healthgrades.com, Care.com, Focus on the Family, NextAvenue.org, CountryLiving.com, and Writer’s Digest. Candy’s books include Life on Pause: Learning to Wait Well (Bold Vision Books), When Your Aging Parent Needs Care (Harvest House), and AFTERSHOCK: Help, Hope, and Healing in the Wake of Suicide (B&H Publishing Group).
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