“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens…a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.”
(Ecclesiastes 3:1,4 NIV)
Over the last few months, I have found myself frequently reflecting on these verses. Typically we may think of “a season” as one of the four seasons in a calendar year or as dictionary.com states, “a period of the year marked by certain conditions, activities, etc.”
Another definition found in dictionary.com states that a season is “a suitable, proper, fitting or right time.” Examining the verses above, this definition seems the most relevant. In other words there is a suitable, proper, fitting or right time to weep, laugh, mourn and dance, or is there?
What I have been reminded of recently is that the seasons mentioned here in Ecclesiastes are not isolated especially when going through times of loss. For instance, at a time in my life when I have been experiencing many losses – my 16-year-old dog passing away, friends moving, and most glaring at the moment, my youngest child graduating from high school and leaving soon for college, I have been able to weep, laugh, mourn and dance almost all at the same time. This is thanks to God’s grace and the range of emotions with which He blessed us.
I have come to know through much personal and professional experience that during times of grieving and loss, it is so very important to express our God-given emotions no matter whether the timing seems “suitable or proper.” For what seems proper during a time of mourning to one person may be different for another. Grieving and walking through a “season” of loss is a very personal experience, and because we are all uniquely made by God, it is important to allow ourselves the same grace that God offers us in experiencing and expressing our emotions.
If we “stuff” our emotions during times of loss, they will most likely surface at a later time. Symptoms of unresolved grief include but are not limited to depression, anxiety, mood swings and/or emotional numbness, withdrawal from friends, family and daily activities. If you find that you are struggling with any of these symptoms, I encourage you to consult with a trusted health care professional.
In the meantime, hear God’s promises:
“Blessed are they who mourn for they will be comforted”
Matthew 5:4 (NIV)
“Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed, says the Lord who has compassion on you”
Isaiah 54:10 (NIV)