Over the past six months, I have come to know the grieving process in a way that only a grieving person can. I've also seen the process working itself out in my children, all of whom have different personalities and are at different stages of maturity. The thing that has, perhaps, surprised me the most is how much better the kids- especially the younger ones- have handled Bryan's death than I have.
Kids are resilient, both physically and emotionally. When the Pilgrims suffered through their first winter in the New World, about half their number died. Most of the children, however, survived. Some of this could be attributed to the sacrificial care of their parents, but these kids demonstrated the amazing ability of little people to overcome and keep going. These were the children who grew up and built the nation we know today.
What makes children so resilient? What's the secret that makes them so able to carry on?
They live in the moment.
We adults obsess about the past while we worry about the future. Kids just live. They exist in the present, and they take each moment as it comes. If the moment is sad, they grieve, and then, they move to the next moment. They accept life for what it is. They may not always be happy, but because they only think about the present, they don't have to be oppressed by depression or anxiety.
As children get older, they start to think more like adults. I suppose they learn by example. It's a shame that we forget how to live a moment at a time, because that really is the only way to live that makes any sense. We can't change the past, and we can't control the future, so we should focus on the present and do and feel whatever is called for at the moment.
I love Jesus' words in Matthew 6. He tells us to look earnestly for God's kingdom and not to worry about earthly things. He gives us two reasons not to worry about the future. First, because God is taking care of everything. He's in control, so there's no need for us to be anxious. If we really trust Him, we can rest peacefully knowing that He will provide, He will work it all out.
It's the second reason, though, that I like the most. "Because each day has enough trouble of its own." What an intensely practical statement! I can almost imagine the Son of God, in all of His glory, saying, "Really? You don't have enough problems to take care of today? You need to be all worried about the future too? How about you just work on today and let me handle the rest?"
It's my desire to become like a little child, focusing on each moment that the Lord sends, committing the future to Him, being grateful for His provision in the past.
And a little child shall lead them...
for of such is the kingdom of heaven.
(Isaiah 11:6 and Matthew 19:14)