Aspirational Response to Loss

Aspirational Response to Loss

“For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.” 1 Corinthians 13:12

I remember talking to someone within the first day or two following Kim’s death. It was as if I was processing my shock, numbness, and grief verbally and on-the-fly. I was making this up as I went, it seemed. After saying something about knowing what was ahead of me, I stopped and said, “I know I am talking pretty big right now.” I might have been in shock, but I recognized it at times and wondered what else I might have said out loud.

I identified a behavior I’ll call aspirational response. I was saying things I wanted to be true of my current and future responses to my grief, but I had not yet truly been tested. However, I knew what I should say. I was talking big. Call it instinct. Call it intuition. But call it aspirational at best. Call it years of truth poured into my life.

I remember learning safety instructions for encountering certain wild and dangerous animals. Stand tall and appear big. That’s what this aspirational response to loss felt like.

Over time, I realized you have moments when your aspirational responses match how you feel. Other times, your responses do not even come close to matching how you feel. It’s a rote response. Going through the motions. However, you keep on speaking out loud to help coach yourself toward the aspirational response.

“It takes time to get to this place after loss. It takes failing and trying again to reroute the trajectory of loss onto a path that restores hope.” Katherine and Jay Wolf, Suffer Strong

Some may call this “fake it ‘til you make it.” That’s not a bad idea. It’s almost like saying believe it until you see it. Having faith is better than having sight. By faith, we really can set a trajectory—an aspiration—for our response. Stand taller than this wild animal until you survive it. Dogged faith even in the face of horrible sight.

So, I figured it’s good to aspire to respond in faith. Sometimes what you see simply isn’t good, and the feelings reflect the sadness, even desperation, of the reality. However, you know that we see dimly now, and you can coach yourself toward what you believe to be true in the age to come. An eternal point of view is vastly different from a temporal perspective. Job understood this well, and I aspire to respond appropriately in my loss:

“Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. And he said, ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.’ In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong.” Job 1:20-22

I aspire to do as Job did in his trials—which were, admittedly, extreme. In all that I face, I pray I do not sin or charge my God with wrong. I can stand in faith and do good because he is good. At least I can aspire.

“Beloved, do not imitate evil but imitate good. Whoever does good is from God; whoever does evil has not seen God.” 3 John 1:11

8 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    D. Ray, we continue to lift you in prayer as you hold on to Jesus by faith of his promises.
    As a pastor’s wife, God has allowed your Facing Loss to be a resource tool for me to use to encourage others who are coping with life without their mate. Praise God He knew we would need the strength from His Word to walk through life.
    This pandemic of 2020 has brought new ministry opportunities which had never surfaced in our lifetime.
    Lubbock has been hit extremely hard by Covid, as has many other cities. In the last 3 months, out city has buried approx 500. Our membership at Southcrest is hurting as we join hands and hearts to stand on God’s promises.
    Thanks for this tool of Facing Loss. We cannot begin to understand your journey without Kim, but we care as we send encouragement for you to keep writing.

    Standing on His Promises,
    Pastor Gary & Jan Beaty
    Southcrest Baptist Church
    Lubbock, TX

    • D. Ray

      Thank you, Beatys! You’re an encouragement! I pray my journey can help others.

  2. Anonymous

    “Stand taller than this wild animal until you survive it. Dogged faith even in the face of horrible sight.”
    Ohhh yes….I have stood there many times in the past 6 years facing that “wild animal” (a great analogy)!!
    BUT, could not have stood without the faith to believe for a future… thanks D Ray for a meaningful description this week of how we go on in our grief process-
    Kathi

    • D. Ray

      Yes, Kathi, for sure. Carry on!

  3. Annette

    “Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God , our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever.” Jude 24-25 Amen Brother, keep aspiring!!!!!! You are an inspiration to many.

    • D. Ray

      Thank you, Annette. He is able and with exceeding joy even in the midst of loss.

  4. Anonymous

    Strong, brother. Thanks for tweeting the link so I would notice it. I love your honesty.

    • D. Ray

      Feel free to subscribe and join the journey.

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