On We Go: A January Reflection
On Grief, Hope, and living at the Intersection
Note: If you’re not a reader and would rather have me read this post to you, click play and feel free to listen along! Peace!
Grief doesn’t have an expiration date.
Grief isn’t a loaf of bread hot out the oven. It doesn’t lose freshness with time. Grief perseveres. Grief is stubborn. As stubborn as that non-perishable can of beans refusing to spoil at the back of your pantry. Time heals a lot of things. Grief isn’t one of them.
Since grief has an extended shelf-life, my hope is to write timeless things that won’t expire. This January, as I’m taking time to reflect, I want to reflect on something that, this time last year, changed the course of my life.
One year ago, I released my 2nd book, We Go On: Finding Purpose in All of Life’s Joys and Sorrows. It was my attempt and putting my heart out into the world. Since 2015, grief sat on my shoulders and wouldn’t get off.
At the LOWEST point in my life, processing the death of my brother, I felt the LONELIEST. To date, it’s been the greatest tragedy I’ve walked through (read: still walking). I thought it would end me.
The tragic ending of my brother’s life was a new beginning. Usually, water on the windshield obscures your vision. My tears actually helped me see clearer than ever before. Tragedy wasn’t the end I imagined. For me, it paved the way to new beginnings.
Tragedy doesn’t ruin us, hopelessness does.
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I had a suspicion. If I shared the depths of my story, then I’d find other people who were LOW & LONELY, screaming into pillows of neglect and despair hoping to silence their grief. I just wanted someone else, who felt like life was over, to know that it wasn’t.
I found y’all.
I found a community of us who were grieving tangible losses (deaths of loved ones). I found a community who were grieving ambiguous losses (deaths of relationships, marriages, opens, and dreams).
We found each other. Y’all changed me in ways I can explain and I owe you a debt I can’t repay.
I started writing this book in 2018. I had a vision. To write a BEAUTIFUL book on GRIEF and HOPE. The content was too beautiful to exist in the drab living quarters of white pages scantily clothed with bare black words. I wanted to create something BEAUTIFUL. A book that spoke to the hands and eyes before it ever spoke to the mind.
I wanted to make the book physically heavy, because grief is HEAVY.
I wanted to make the inside of the book beautiful because grief is…confusing. And BEAUTY isn’t a word people tend to associate with grief. My hope was that after reading the book, people would start.
I met my friend Danielle Peterson in 2019 and she had the same vision. We worked through a pandemic and out came We Go On.
This is my attempt to add some texture and nuance to conversations about grief and hope. I can’t count the number of conversations with people that end with furrowed brows as they share their helplessness in the face of carrying someone else’s grief. They don’t just lack the right words, they don’t have any helpful ones. They lament that all they have to offer are silent shoulders to hold falling tears. Every conversation ends with seeing these silent shoulders as liabilities, not assets. I hope this book corrects this balance sheet.
My desire with this book is to help both the vigorous and vicarious grievers realize the strength of these silent shoulders.
Tears will fall. That much is inevitable. There is no way to stop the downpour. To do so would cheapen the love of that which our tears testify. When we treat these tears as an inevitability and not an inconvenience, we open ourselves to create a more beautiful space.
A space where tears fall freely BUT the floors stay dry because everyone has a shoulder to cry on!
THAT is what I’m after. THAT’s what I want for us. That no one would have to know the horror of living at the intersection of LOWLY and LONELY!
This little book changed my life and I couldn’t be more excited about what’s in store this year. I love y’all. We’ve got some amazing things cooking: the soundtrack set to release this Spring and We Go On: Szn 2, headed to about 20 cities this summer and fall!
Tragedy doesn’t ruin us. Hopelessness does. Hold on to hope however you can.
If you’ve been helped at all by anything from this book over the last 365 days, I’d love to hear about it in the comments (and in an Amazon review if you’re down! Amazon reviews help people find out about the book!)
I read We Go On at the beginning of 2022 prior to knowing the grief that I would find myself walking in the rest of the year after the tragic death of a loved one and the death of many dreams. I found this book to be a safe haven of the battling tensions within my soul. In addition, for my work, I lead many volunteers, and in some cases, I find myself pastoring them through hard moments. This has become the first book I recommend to anyone grieving whether tangible or ambiguous. Grateful for your work, vulnerability, and care shown through this book.
It'll be two(2)years on the 25th of January, and yes, I've been in agony, but I understand that He is working it out and I just have to wait to see what that is. I so appreciate the book because it really helped me a lot. I enjoy your writing, & preaching. Just keep telling the truth and let the chips fall where they may. Let His will be done, & have the BEST day that you can! :)