Living In Grace, Not Grief

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This past week I noticed something, a transition from one life season to another is complete. A good example of this is that a friend of mine, for twenty-one years now, is in town doing one of her very popular seminars (I’ve heard around a dozen times) at the church I used to attend. She texted me yesterday and said in part, “I am already grieving that you won’t be there.” I thought that was sweet, but why? Why is she grieving? This friend is amazingly eloquent, so I know she picked that word on purpose. Grief is a strong word and one that does not come to mind, at all, when I think about not being with her, at that seminar, in that environment.

This disconnect with a long-time friend caught my attention.

To be clear, I love her. Her seminar (teachings about how different people receive, process and output information) helped changed my life for the better. It is one of the experiences I had during my conservative years that I know will have a positive impact for the rest of my life. Also, I don’t have anything against my old church or the people who will be at the seminar today. I am glad for them to have this opportunity and have no doubt some of those in attendance will have an illuminating life-altering experience like I did.

But “grieving” … No, I am not grieving not being invited or in attendance.

A year ago, right after I first decided to stop going to that church, it would have hurt not to be there. Freshly out of the closet (8 months at that point), just after a big blowout with an elder, his family, some people in my former life group, …yeah, I would have grieved then but not today. That’s why I believe this particular transition is complete.

Today, there is plenty of new going on. It seems life is always a transition from one season to the next, from one day to the next, from one lesson to the next, but when it comes to being “unhindered” I truly am. I am no longer trying to live in a past fractured sense of self; a projection based on personal idealization and expectations from others.

With that in mind, I’m not grieving because I am daily entering into a deeper peace, of who I am. As this abiding Awareness becomes a more cognitively and spiritually engaged reality, I don’t have the desire to hold tightly onto old hurts. Grace relieves any temptation to gossip about, exact justice from, or take revenge (even in my imagination.) Intentionally remembering the good outshines holding onto or nurturing the bad. The parasitic effects of unforgiveness and bitterness die from lack of sustenance. Vibrant life springs forward, and the real fruit of healthy self-esteem and mutually beneficial relational interdependency takes root.

Of course, I can’t speak for my friend and why she feels grief. I don’t need to guess or project why I think she is grieving. If she needs to tell me more, she will. What I am confident of is that today will be a great day for them. Knowing her, the material and that group, I have a feeling that they will have a truly transformative day. I am genuinely excited for them.

No, I am no longer a part of that church community, but I can look at them with intentional fondness and honest good feelings based on plenty of wonderful memories. I don’t want or need to grieve today when intentional gratitude has taken root and life has moved on.

Today I live in a different place; an abundant and life-giving world empowered by grace full of exciting possibilities.


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