Grant Your Grief its Wings
Some gifts have wings. Remember the lovely movie It’s a Wonderful Life? At the poignant end of this 1946 holiday classic, the littlest daughter Zuzu Bailey tells her father “Every time a bell rings an angel gets its wings.” The idea helps us feel joy imagining that out of the trauma and confusion of Frank Bailey’s life, in the end a gift of an angel was brought to him to help him realize his true value and worth. But the idea of someone getting their wings also enables them to fly away. These are usually the hardest gifts for us to accept, understand, and appreciate. People come into our lives for a reason, sometimes a season and some to share an extended journey with us through life. Once we figure out which it is, you know the best way to receive and possibly grieve the loss of such a gift.
When someone comes to your life for a reason, it is usually to meet a need you have. They come to teach you, remind you, awaken you, and even shake you into a new way of looking at, and perceiving your life. These relationship gifts can be obvious or discreet. You can realize your need or be blind to it. These gifts can feel frustrating and confusing because you want them to last instead of melt like your favorite ice cream on a hot day. None of that really matters. God knows what you need, even if it is a challenge to help you grow, and sends it. Like the famous 1969 hit song by The Rolling Stones, You Can’t Always Get What You Want, you might not end up with what you thought you wanted, but you just might get what you need.
Reason relationships or encounters come to you to build your resilience, or to challenge you in the most extraordinary ways. Many times these gifts will frustrate you, confuse you or force you out of your comfort zone. These gifts may come to teach you the importance of forgiveness because often without warning, or any wrongdoing on your part the reason relationships may leave or abandon you. They may go at an inconvenient time, at a time that you feel you aren’t ready to be without them. You will turn around and the person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end. Sometimes they walk away. Sometimes they run. Sometimes they act out and force you to take a stand. Sometimes they allow you to witness the inadequacies of mankind, as for what ever the reason they are not kind at all.
When reason relationships expire you must invite yourself to understand is that your need for growth or insight has been met, their work is complete. The challenge you needed has been presented and it is now time for you to say grace and move on. Because reason gifts can be heart breaking and even devastating they may not feel like gifts at all, especially when you fall to your knees in the pain the bring, but they are gifts, precious gifts, extraordinary gifts, necessary gifts because when recognized, claimed and embraced they are the fertilizer you need to grow stronger.
When people come into your life for a season, it is because your turn has come to share, grow or learn about love. The people who bring us the gift of ‘a season’ may bring an experience of peace, adventure or simply the gift of laughter. They may provide you with guidance and support, to aid you physically, emotionally or spiritually. They may serve as a bridge to somewhere you need to experience on your way through life. They teach you lessons upon which you can build your gratitude. Gratitude heals you, brings you joy and comfort that you need for your grief. Your season gifts may teach you, love you, inspire you, alter you and bring you an unbelievable amount of joy. Appreciate your time and connection because just as leaves burst forth, give shade to all near them, turn brown and fall; just as the rose begins as a beautiful bud, opens as a magnificent bloom, only to fade and wither, so too are the seasons brought to you in the form of relationships bring color and vibrance to your life.
Extended journey relationships can last a lifetime. They teach you lifetime lessons. They lead you to solid emotional ground, sacred ground, like Moses taking off his shoes before the burning bush, his feet touching the solid ground of commitment and grace. They grow with you, they need you, they love you, they drain you and yet, simultaneously fill you, and each day the blessing of the sacred gift grows in value. Whether these gifts come in the form of lifetime partners, children, or even siblings, each relationship is precious beyond words.
Whether you relationships come to you for a reason, a season, or an extended journey, they are all valuable and important. Some are rock, unshakable in the storm of life. They are the strength upon which you build your home, your hope, and your life. Some are seasons passing with graceful predictability, giving birth to wonder and majesty as they teach you that change is life, and without it, your life can become stagnant and frozen in time. Some teach you to cry, fall to your knees and humble yourself to a love that heals all wounds.
Often it is the reason gifts that are hardest to accept, the hardest to let go, the hardest to appreciate because the loss of them is unexpected, and you find yourself at the bottom of a hole they leave that feels like a crater you are at a loss to find your way out of. How do you accept the lesson behind a gift of reason? How do you love the person who brought you the gift without blaming them, and despising them for the pain of its loss? How do you put what you have learned to use in all other relationships that come to you as gifts.
The answer, while not easy, is simple. It requires that you simply remember the most profound truth of gifts. Some gifts are rock, some gifts blossom and fade like an arrangement of breathtaking roses, and most importantly you must remember, some gifts are meant the help you earn your wings that help you grow and transcend the struggles that are a part of life.
Personality and relationship expert Dawn Billings is the author and architect of Primary Colors Relationship Personality Tests and RelationshipHelp.com training. Dawn is the author of hundreds of articles and executive director of the Relationship Help Resort in Arizona where she leads private couple's retreats and intensives to strengthen, empower and heal relationships, and does expert training for professionals who desire to utilize an insight tool for their clients that can help develop emotional intelligence and communication skills.