Thankful Tuesday: Grief & Gratitude

In the last several weeks, I've been ever so slowly working my way through Brene Brown's Daring Greatly . It's a book that's every bit as wonderful as everyone says it is. 

Last week, I read the chapter on Vulnerability Armory and was struck by what Brene found in her research: That practicing gratitude is the antidote to foreboding joy, the state during which we constantly wait for the other shoe to drop.

Though I recognized myself in Brene's description of foreboding joy, in this season of life, it's antidote actually captivated me more because of the grief I've been mired in the last few weeks.

Sunday, November 10 should have been my due date and as that date approaches, the thought of what should have been has consumed me, filling me with a grief every bit as raw, real, and intense as it was when the doctor first uttered the word miscarriage .

Then yesterday, our cat, Franklin died. We knew it was coming; He'd been getting increasingly thinner and less agile. For weeks, we'd struggled with whether or not we needed to put him down. People kept telling me, “You'll know when it's time” and I kept asking, “How?” But then late Sunday night I watched him try to get around. He took a few steps, meowed, and just collapsed. In that moment, I knew it was time.

Unable to do anything about it that night, I carried him to his bed, got my husband, and sat with him. Eventually, we went to bed and sometime during the night, he died. My heart is heavy as a result. Pets are an important part of our families and Franklin was a critical part of ours. Without him, our house feels empty.

Thkfl Tuesday

I'm grieving and yet today, I'm also choosing to practice gratitude. In Daring Greatly, Brene talks about the importance of tangible gratitude practices. With that in mind, today I'm naming what I'm grateful for as a part of Micha Boyett's Thankful Tuesdays.

On this dreary November day, I'm thankful

Franklin

- That Franklin died here at home and that we did not have to put him to sleep.

- For my husband, who knows me better than I know myself and understands what I can and cannot handle.

- For the way my husband gives me permission to grieve, holds me when I cry, and reminds me that I can do so as often and for as long as I need to.

Minty Mallows

- For the return of Dark Chocolate Minty Mallows to Trader Joe's.

- For pregnant friends. 

- For an online community of women who supports and nurtures one another through miscarriages and pregnancy loss.

- For family and friends who understand the death of a pet is a real loss.

Because We Love You

- For friends who care for me enough to drop by with a hug or “Because we love you” cookies. 

- For a job I love. 

- For the privilege of investing in teens and witnessing how God transforms their lives. 

- For shelter and for organizations in my community, like Bridge Communities, dedicated to providing shelter for some of those who are homeless.

- For the chance to sit around a campfire with an incredible team of adult leaders and dream big dreams – not just for our ministry, but for our greater community. 

- For a heart filled with so much joy and grief that it feels ready to burst. 

- For a God who suffers with us, knows our pain, and gives us hope.

Comments

idelette

O, Jen!!!! O, my heart aches and I am weeping here with you ... for so many losses and for the gratitude and beauty that is so mixed in with the sadness.

I feel you today.

Love,
xoxo

Posted by idelette, almost 6 years ago

Jen Bradbury on Youth Ministry

Jen serves as the Minister of Youth and Family at Atonement Lutheran Church in Barrington, Illinois. A veteran youth worker, Jen holds an MA in Youth Ministry Leadership from Huntington University. Jen is the author of The Jesus Gap: What Teens Actually Believe about Jesus (The Youth Cartel), The Real Jesus (The Youth Cartel), Unleashing the Hidden Potential of Your Student Leaders (Abingdon), and A Mission That Matters (Abingdon). Her writing has also appeared in YouthWorker Journal, Immerse, and The Christian Century. Jen is also the Assistant Director of Arbor Research Group where she has led many national studies. When not doing ministry or research, she and her husband, Doug, and daughter, Hope, can be found traveling and enjoying life together.

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