Husband & Wife Articles


 

Grief and Grace

Connecting with God in our darkest moments

By Rich Vosler

 

Losing my wife, Joanne, was like losing everything. She was my life, and in her was everything I valued. Being an introspective person, I thought about how hard it would be to move forward without her.

One night while driving home from work I became really upset. A popular song came on the radio and it was about a guy looking at an old photograph and reminiscing about how hard it was to say goodbye to his friends and the place where he grew up. It really hit me how hard it was to say goodbye to Joanne. I looked up through the moon roof in my car and started asking God why. “Why did you do this? Why did you let this happen? How am I supposed to raise all these kids by myself? How??? Why did you take her???”

By this time I was screaming at the top of my lungs, barely keeping control of the car. The tears were streaming down my face and I just kept screaming louder. I didn't care. I was angry and wanted an answer.

When I reached my street I pulled over and sobbed for a long time. I was spent. When I was calm, I drove the short distance home and went in and got back to my life. Soon it dawned on me that I still had one thing left. I had my relationship with God. How could I forget that?

In our busy, connected world it’s very easy to forget that. Especially when you’re mad at the world for what happened, like I was. But most of us, no matter what state our life is in, forget that we always have our relationship with God. Always. For some reason it’s the one thing we’ve let fall by the wayside when deep inside we know it’s the most important relationship we have.

I remember saying, “Dear Lord, you’ve taken everything I have. Now all I have is you.” And I made a conscious decision to lean on him. That’s when I believe my grief took a turn in the road. That one prayer has opened a whole new life for me and my family. It was then when I began to see a bigger purpose to everything that happened. I’m not saying that I completely understand everything, but I am saying that, because I was open to his love in the middle of our crisis, the reason doesn’t really matter because he’s given us peace.

“They that hope in the Lord will renew their strength, they will soar as with eagles’ wings; they will run and not grow weary, walk and not grow faint,” we read in Isaiah 40:31. That one verse explains how I’ve been able to go on with this tremendous responsibility and that’s just one of thousands of promises he’s given us. But read the first sentence again – “They that hope in the Lord.” It requires some action on our part – to hope. Had I not taken that action, to lean on him during this crisis, peace would not have come.

And so that’s my message to you today. Lean on God no matter what’s going on in your life. Lean on him today. It was always something I wanted to do but life got in the way. We make more human connections with each new gadget we get our hands on. But it may be that he more connected we become on earth the more disconnected we get from the One who gave us life.

How do we reconnect? Go back to Mass. Start reading the Bible. Join a prayer group. Change what’s going into your head. Read good books on how to reconnect. Sit quietly and just listen. Go back to Confession and then receive the Eucharist. Schedule an appointment with your pastor, priest or a competent spiritual director. Do something to get back to the basics of your Catholic faith.

What’s so ironic about all of this is that if I had not “flipped out” on that ride home from work, I never would have arrived at my decision to lean on him more. That’s exactly how I know that going through the hard stuff in life is critical to a good life and a good outcome. When you’re challenged to the core and there’s nowhere to run and nowhere to turn, you remember the one promise above them all: “And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).

Rich Vosler is a father, businessman, author, coach and speaker. He is a featured blogger for Catholic Digest.com and recently published his first book The Vosler's Nest: 45 Short Stories of Faith, Hope, and Encouragement. He is a member of the Knights of Columbus Council 8733 of Tabernacle, N.J. His website is RichVosler.com.