I accidently stumbled onto an idea that has evidently been around for quite some time. It needs to be more widely spread because it works.
I began to thank God every night and every morning for my life and the life of my family. I don’t remember the reason why I felt I needed to do this but I did. I would acknowledge that today may be the last day for me or for any of my family because there are no guarentees to how long each of us shall be here. Ps 139:16 In Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them.
Then one day our youngest was stricken by a virus that put him in the ICU for two weeks. There was some serious doubt that he would live through this experience. The whole time I had a strange peace about the whole thing. It was OK with me if he lived and it was OK with me if he lived with Jesus. Either way was fine. I could only attribute this presence of peace to the practicing of thankfullness each day.
After our son came home, I ran into our Pastor and told him about this “technique” I had discovered. He laughed and said, “Ah yes, preparatory grief. We have known about it for years.” The idea, I guess, is that everyone will go through a grieving process. By being thankful everyday you spread this grief out over a long period of time. Therefore, not having it hit you all at once.
I noticed that even Yoda in Star Wars III was aware of preparatory grief. He councelled young Aniken; “You must begin to train yourself to let go of what you are afraid to lose.”
So we must also train ourselves to believe that all that we have is actually God’s and they/it are only on loan to us for a short time. Be thankful for the time with them/it. So that when they/it are gone, we will not be crushed by grief. Surprised and saddened, yes indeed, but crushed, no way.
Praise be to God.