by Chaplain Julia Rajtar, MAPS, BCC
After a loved one dies, we seek consolation from the pain of their absence. One of the ways the bereaved find meaning out of the death is through the lens of faith. Many have said “my faith teaches me that one day we will be together again in eternal life.” This belief can bring healing to the space between the now and then and can serve as a ray of hope. In the book, Heaven is for Real, a little boy’s trip to heaven and back is shared with the reader. In part of the story the little boy talks about the family members he has seen in heaven, in the chapter, “No One is Old in Heaven.”
Easter too is a sign of hope in the promise of new life, rebirth and renewal. Spring is another one of those signs that often brings hope to us as the daylight extends and the promise of new life abounds. This year, like so many, we anxiously look forward to the first flower budding from the earth, held deep within the ground to protect it. The unfolding of new life the greening of the grass, the budding of the trees, the tulips that just seem to appear, and in the birds singing their songs, can bring consolation to a broken heart. Yet even with the hope of spring, comes the one two punch of the reality, that our loved one is not physically present to celebrate it with us. Take time with that sadness too.
Whatever your beliefs, spring and Easter can be a time of hope, joy, new life, and promise for the future. In our times of sorrow and sadness, our beliefs about life after death can sustain us in the darkest hours of grief. When our hearts are broken by the sadness that our loved one is no longer physically present, try seeking a place in nature, where you can sit, privately, quietly. Listen to the sounds around you. Listen to the birds. Watch the squirrels balance as they jump from tree branch to tree branch, even when the branch looks like it won’t hold them. Perhaps, even take the time to talk to God, or talk with your loved one, and feel their presence once again.
- This spring, this Easter, what gives you hope?
- While everyone is joyous around you this spring, how will you attend to the sadness or brokenness in your heart?
- What is it that you believe about eternal life? Is it time to brush up on your faith or seek a spiritual guide?
- What do you want others to know, to help you through this season?