I made tortilla soup last week. It was a vegetarian dish with tomatoes, onions, cumin, chili powder, garlic, corn, and jalapeños. All of it tossed into a crock pot and cooked for eight hours. The recipe called for what I considered to be too few peppers, so I added a bit more. Upon the tasting the seasoning was perfect, the flavor was bold, and the heat was striking. So striking that it caught my breath and I sought out sour cream to add to the bowls. I didn’t realize how much heat was in there. We don’t always know how much we’re going to be affected by what’s inside.
Grief can be that way too. Sure you know it’s there, it was added to the crock pot after all. But time goes by, life goes on, and you think that you’ve moved past it. Or perhaps, when we are really honest, we realize that we never faced our own grief. Too much, too fast, too painful; so we avoid it. The friend that betrayed you, that hurtful remark you thought you’d forgotten, the anger you buried; all of these things are still there. And when people come to you and expect you to be ok, for reason’s you cannot explain – you are not ok. Because, the truth is, you’re still healing. The scar has yet to form and more time is needed. Hidden grief can manifest at the worst moments, far hotter and off-putting than jalapeños.
If you’re going to start off this new year the right way, then take time to deal with your hidden grief. If you don’t, you might take out that pain on someone you love, or a stranger, or yourself. Often times we’ll get angry about something unrelated but the truth knows that our pain is about our grief. It is ok to admit that you haven’t healed as fast as the world wants you too. There is nothing wrong with that. So take your time, admit your hurt, grieve, and let God heal you.
That soup, by the way, turned out to be pretty good. Add enough sour cream, cheese, and tortillas – well you get the point. The heat didn’t go away completely, but it never does. That’s life I suppose.
Psalm 30:2 “Lord, my God, I cried out to you for help, and you healed me.”