Holidays & Grieving

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Mosaic: Note to self – holidays are good times to reflect, relax and recharge! This blog is particularly written with two types in mind (mainly for those grieving following the loss of a loved one) – Holidays ‘at home’ and ‘away’. Struck by the beautiful mosaic patterns in this picture, contrasted with the grey columns and statues among the ruins at Ephesus; presents an ideal ‘selfie’ recording moment (of the foot, not face variety!) On a more sombre reflective note, a still small voice from within comforts my soul (sole) and speaks volumes: “You are not alone. You are not alone on your path. You are not alone in your future. You are not alone as you step out in the ‘Mosaic of This Life’ ….” A brief interlude amid the jostling of taxis, airport transfers, train and bus journeys. This ‘God Moment’ calms and comforts, assuring the grieving soul of hope for the journey that lies ahead. Perhaps you too, Dear Reader, can pause to reflect your very own ‘God Moment’ when it seems time stood still for you too?

Firstly, A HOLIDAY ABROAD –

At T2
At the airport (photo by my daughter, Rhoda) who kindly got me there early with plenty of time to spare! First flight & trip alone for over 10 years, so grateful for her support 🙂

 

Snapshot memory diary of a day at Ephesus, Turkey:

Amphitheatre at Ephesus:

 

Ephesus
Seating for 25, 000 & where the riot took place (Acts 19:23-41)

The Celsus (Celcius) Library: (Roman Imperial Period) built in AD100 by Gaius Julius Aquila for his father Celsus Polemaeanus who was governor of the province of Asia  – destroyed in an earthquake in AD270 and rebuilt in 1970 – 1978. This being just one of the notes added to my holiday diary, recording a wonderful time away from home that was frankly ‘a breath of fresh air’ soon after the first anniversary of my husband Fred/George’s death.

At Ephesus
Ann & Sue (photo by John) – Etched in the marble steps is a Menorah, 7 branched candlestick.

Looking down over Ephesus: There is always that moment after a walk or tour that you get to ‘pause-and-bask’. Not so? On this swelteringly hot day, eating Peynirli (cheese sticks) and sipping vişne (cherry drink) with my dear friends, it was such a time! Perfect, precious moments …

Sunset at Aladdin’s Restaurant, Ozdere: An important part of any holiday is one, I feel, where you enjoy the warmth of the sun’s rays, basking in the sunshine and enjoying the recharging process, sharing it with friends who do you good.

A list of precious ‘Gems’ (as my friend Lisa’s Paul would say). I’ve recorded them in my ‘Gem Book’, a few listed below, during my special holiday abroad staying with my friends John & Ann:

  • Outdoor exercise park
  • Orange blossom fragrance
  • Sparrows at my feet
  • Song on IPod ‘Cornerstone, weak made strong in the Saviour’s love …’
  • Fighter jets
  • Walk up the mountain in Ozdere
  • Hot cross bun hilarity!
  • Amazing hospitality – Kahvaltı (breakfast)
  • The list goes on ….

Writing your own personalised list of ‘gems’ gives one an ideal opportunity to sum up and consider in a word or phrase everyday moments we could so easily take for granted and perhaps even forget. Could you count your blessings and name them one-by-one? Try it!

Secondly, HOLIDAY AT HOME –

More recently I had the opportunity to take ten days off work to have a different type of holiday. It was an opportunity, as Christian speaker, missionary and author Elisabeth Elliot (b.1926) is known for saying; for me to “do the next thing.” Holidays can be challenging and lonely times for widows or widowers, so ‘doing the next thing’ helps one stay focused and undistracted.

Carol Cornish in her book ‘The Undistracted Widow’ encourages the grieving widow to ‘shift gears’ and ‘stretch forward’. She mentions in her book , a nineteenth-century preacher and teacher called Thomas Chalmers. Chalmers’s point in one of his sermons is that “we will go forward enthusiastically when we so love God that our love for him propels us onward and satisfies the depths of our soul. The pain of the loss of our husband” (or loved one) “begins to decrease as our love for Christ increases, widens, deepens and becomes the love of our life.”

So, Carol in her book encourages widows/widowers in their struggle to go forward, if they can do nothing else, at least do the next thing (I quote):

  • wash the clothes
  • pay the bills
  • cook a nice meal (for yourself or to share)
  • clean the house
  • phone or visit a friend

” … and soon as day follows day, you will be moving into the future. As you give up the past and move on serving Christ with enthusiasm you will be able to look back on your life with a sparkle in your eye.”

Thanks again for reading, Dear Friend. Till next time -Suz &#X1f60a

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