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Learning to Carry the Pain

It felt like one of the most difficult times of our lives. A new season of grief entered on an unsuspecting Sunday in autumn. Our beloved French Bulldog, who was not yet two years old, left this life in a way that was both tragic and traumatic, leaving our hearts utterly broken.

I was no stranger to grief by this point in my life. Profound loss has littered my past, and I had learned to wade through those waters with my eyes on Jesus. To focus until I began to feel like I would no longer drown.

Yet this time felt different. Broken beyond repair, I felt the heaviness begin to manifest in physical ways that was beyond my control. I felt anxious and on edge all the time.

At forty-one years old, I found myself sitting in the office of a cardiologist for the first time in my life. My heart seemed to beat erratically within my chest, like it had forgotten it’s rhythm. Forgotten how to function.

The doctor’s prognosis was so simple, it almost felt embarrassing at the time. You see, you don’t have to be a cardiologist to know that grief, combined with lack of sleep, poor hydration and excess caffeine to compensate for all of the above, results in a poor physical outcome.

My body was trying to tell me what my soul couldn’t find words for: that I was hurting and desperately needed help.

In the first chapter of the Book of Ruth, we are invited into a desperately dark time in Naomi’s life. Naomi and her husband have left their home land in Judah because of a famine, but upon settling in the foreign land of Moab, Naomi’s husband passes away. Some ten years later, after her son’s had married Moabite women, both of her son’s passed away, too.

As if being a widow wasn’t hard enough, Naomi finds herself alone in a foreign land. She is without sons or extended family to help provide for her, and without property or possessions. Without modern day advantages of technology, access to a