There is an aquarium at our local Rubio’s Baja Grill where a certain Blue Regal Tang fish (the species of “Dori” in the movie “Finding Nemo”) swims the same pattern again and again in the tank. It is fascinating to watch as it circles a certain plant, around and around, rarely stopping to do anything else. Observing this little fish is like watching a video that is stuck on a 5 second segment that keeps repeating over and over without ceasing. Every time, without fail, when I visit this restaurant the blue fish is swimming this same pattern. Interestingly, the employees say it is basically constant; the fish is in a never-ending spin cycle.
Meanwhile, the other fish are exploring the tank, “socializing”, relaxing, playing, and more; they seem to be living full lives despite being captive in a small aquarium.
I don’t want to be the Blue Regal Tang in the tank of grief.
The trauma I’ve experienced could easily trigger getting “stuck”—it happens to many with this kind of loss. But I don’t want to get caught in a spin cycle of despair that causes me to miss the life that is around me, even if I reside in an aquarium of heartache. I want to live fully, even within the confines of my deep pain and loss. How do I do this when my anguish is still so severe? How do I live when part of me has died?
Jesus says that He came that we might have life—abundant life. (John 10:10) I don’t think this is simply referring to our life in eternity; I believe the Lord wants us to live fully here on earth, no matter what our circumstances. And surely, when this declaration was made, those with experiences of severe affliction were not an exception. The same verse also says that the thief has comes to steal, kill and destroy; he would find great victory in seeing me stuck in a despairing pattern like the Blue Regal Tang, no longer fully living.
Oh Father, soothe my broken soul. Help me learn how to experience healthy grief without allowing despair to destroy me! Guide me toward the abundant life found in You. Amen.