“Make a fist! That’s right… a big, tight fist! Now, put it in front of your face… right up there near the bridge of your nose …right between your eyes. What do you see?”
With this simple exercise, Jeanne Bishop’s pastor helped her deal with the excruciating grief associated with the tragic death of her sister, brother-in-law and their unborn child.
“What do you see?”
“I see a fist.” Jeanne replied.
“Good.” the pastor said. “Now slowly, slowly take that fist and move it down to your side. … What do you see now?”
“I can see everything, the whole world.”
“Do you see that fist, the one that once blocked out everything else? … It hasn’t change size or shape. It’s just as big as it was before. It’s just not here” — the pastor raised his fist back to his face — “anymore.”
With this very simple and accessible routine, Pastor John Boyle assisted a bereft woman to see that she could move ahead with painful memories, enduring love, the truth of her loss as “companions” by her side.
The pastor assured her, “You have had a loss. You will never get over it. But you will get out from under it.”
When grief is fresh it feels raw and all-consuming. This in testimony to the depth of the relationship lost. It appears to block out the rest of our world, like the fist in front of our nose. With time it subsides — in its own time and as it serves its good purpose. The chasm created by the loss never leaves but moves to another place, always by our side.
Memory, love and loss — our ever-present companions. Over time, life becomes as we would want it. As it should be!
References and quotes are from pages 44-45 of Change of Heart: Justice, Mercy and Making Peace with My Sister’s Killer by Jeanne Bishop. Westminster John Know Press, 2015.