Our week has had its share of ups and downs. The downs center around the loss of our unborn baby. The ups have been much more varied:
God's love and goodness have been repeated ups.
The love and kindnesses expressed by friends and family in word and deed.
Seeing God's hand at work.
Knowing God's peace.
The assurance of faith (The substance of things hoped for - Hebrews 11)
Some 'down time' to spend together.
But the best 'up' I have enjoyed is the permission to grieve. I have often heard people say "It's OK to grieve," "You can be sad, you know," or "You just need to cry it out." Those words, in and of themselves, do not give a person permission to grieve. It gives them a verbal declaration of their approval, but it communicates to the mind instead of the heart.
Permission to grieve comes in so many forms, it is hard to identify. It comes from sadness expressed by friends and acquaintances. Something so simple as an "Aw, I'm sorry" said with genuine concern, to people who say "I don't even have any words to say" have communicated that permission. Permission comes in the validation of feelings. Not telling me how I should be feeling, how long I should feel it, how I should move on, or even what I should expect. Just the simple communication that it is OK to feel what I feel. No one has told us we are doing it wrong. No one has told us we should be in better shape, or in worse shape. No, we have been loved. That love has given us permission to grieve and we are thankful. Our friends and family have lived out Job's advice in Job 6:14 - "To him that is afflicted pity should be shewed from his friend"
Though we still feel we are walking in uncharted territory and don't know how we are supposed to proceed, we are glad for the leeway to proceed as we feel is right for us.