I think we all know that grief, and the healing afterwards, must run its natural course. But I got to looking at my garden—at the “natural” processes in life—and I noticed some things.
Maybe others have had different experiences, but in my garden, the only thing that grows “naturally” is weeds. Those pesky things I don’t want. The things that seem to be able to spread and grow without any maintenance, help, coercion, or fertilizer. Or even watering! Where I live, summer is regularly between 105-110 degrees. Scorching heat. No rain for months. And STILL these suckers survive and thrive. (Much to my constant irritation.)
If anything desirable grows “naturally” in my garden, it’s because the environment has been prepared. The ground has been prepped. Rich nutrients have been added to the soil specific for those plants. I have developed a watering system. I have followed a rotation cycle to prevent the easy breeding of diseases. I have tended: pulling weeds, trimming diseased branches and plucking off sucker shoots.
After organization — after being purposeful — after intentional work — then my garden grows. The natural order of things can then thrive. Organic growth can take over and create something beautiful.
These principles can be applied to grief. Sure, we can leave it alone and let grief and healing run its natural course. But, remember, not everything that grows naturally is beneficial. I’m not looking for weeds in my life. And even the good stuff needs some help. I want beauty to thrive. I want what’s produced to have substance, purpose, and benefit. So instead, why not invest into our grief and healing, and create an environment where better things grow.
Healing from grief and trauma should be intentional, not simply left to chance and time. Things don’t get better in life by accident. Nothing grows healthier by happenstance. Things get better because we work the garden of our hearts. We grievers should put forth purposeful effort into what we develop in our lives after loss. Just like prepping a garden.
Please don’t misunderstand me. You can’t MAKE yourself get better. Oh, no. But you can create an environment to encourage the “getting better.” You can make purposeful decisions which create that environment. We do get a say in that. We do have a choice to put ourselves in the position in which healing can be nurtured. We have a say in what is planted, tilled, fertilized and watered in our healing journey.
It may be starting a new hobby that you’ve always wanted to do. Stepping out of your comfort zone. Embracing the possibilities of a new season. Maybe getting involved in a ministry where you can reach out to someone else and help them. Maybe it’s allowing yourself to laugh at a joke or giving yourself permission to enjoy life. Go create something, taking the pain and molding a beautiful thing with it. Maybe it’s allowing those painful changes instead of fighting them. Loosen your grip on the way it was, which opens your hands to the new things that can be.
Reach for hope. Reach for healthy. Reach for change. Reach for new.
It takes work. It takes effort. It takes planning. It takes determination.
What have you done that’s intentional? What have you done, on purpose, to encourage an environment of healing and growth?