Bless! Our Losses
Good morning. Welcome to Day 11, Blessing what has been lost.
There is an ancient tradition in the Japanese culture to repair a broken object. If a vase has been broken, it will be repaired with the appropriate materials. After it’s been repaired, a small object of gold is melted and carefully painted over the crack in the vase. When it is finished, the vase is put back where it belongs. The vase now tells a story of an accident or mishap, the care to repair it, and the beautiful gold etching that highlights what was once broken has now been restored.
We would do well to care for the mishaps of our relationships in the same way. No relationship is free from the problems of life, and no relationship escapes the hurts that come from selfish people. And yet, we often ignore the broken parts of ourselves that have been repaired, blessed, and restored. Beauty from ashes.
When we refuse to accept the blessing (the gold etching over our brokenness) our spouse gives us, we demand contempt and this chokes out grace. Over time, this erodes both husband and wife in their ability to see what needs grace.
Yesterday we talked about celebrating the wins of our relationships. Remembering the good and joy that has come from being on the same team. Today, it’s still about the team. Teams that lose together will stay committed together. Problems start getting out of hand when we leave the confines of the team and start blaming and pointing fingers. It’s natural to do so, but never really helps anyone that was a part of the loss.
Our losses together need the care, attention, and blessing that the vase received in the story above. When we bless our losses, we accept them as necessary (albeit painful) experiences that teach us something about ourselves, our spouse, and about God. If we refuse to address the losses, we refuse to let something be healed in ourselves that only this situation might have been able to heal.
I wish healing worked differently. I wish it always happened with an epidural, or while I sleep, or when I am away on vacation. But it doesn’t work that way. Healing requires that we be fully awake in the pain and the struggle. And glorious things happen when we are awake and alive to what we are asked to do, especially in marriage.
Blessing our losses means that we have to move out from being the victim of to a participant with. Not that the loss was the result of our choice, but that our commitment to another person includes participating with them (and them with us) in the repair work that needs to be done. When we offer a blessing to something painful, we are choosing hope instead of despair, love instead of contempt, and companionship instead of isolation.
It’s easy to desire the blessing when it is me that messed up. When we bless our spouse, we give them permission and an invitation to do the same for us when it is our turn.
- What did I think about my spouse in reading today’s material? Was it kind? Was it thoughtful? Was it loving?
- Did I have feelings, thoughts, questions, or stories that came to mind?
- What is something I can do for them today?
- How can I welcome and receive what they have done for me today?
What are 5 difficult stories/moments of your marriage that need a blessing? Answer these questions about each story:
- What happened?
- What did I feel?
- How did I respond?
- What was so difficult for me about this event?
- What did I do with the pain I felt?
- What would a blessing from me look like about this story?
Give yourself some time to complete today’s assignment. You might need 30 or more minutes to appropriately answer the above questions. Be kind. Remember the celebrations from yesterday, not all is loss. Be careful with the difficult stories. It would be wise to go slow, and ask God to show you what you’ve been unwilling or blind to see about these stories before.
The goal of today’s assignment is to, as a team, find something of gratitude for the difficult experiences you’ve had together. This is not an exercise to excuse what has happened, or to enable it to happen again. It is to find a way to say “thank you” together for what has been present in your lives as a couple. Think and pray about how a “gold etching” could become part of these stories.
Hello! Welcome back. Great to see you again. How was your day?
Yesterday I said that stories are awesome, and that is true for today as well. Even though the stories you got into today might not be the ones you want to remember, they need to see the healing light of day.
Take 10-15 minutes tonight with your spouse to talk through your day.
- What were the highs and lows?
- Where were you surprised?
- Was there anything different about your day because of the assignment(s)?
- From this mornings reading, what stood out to you?
- If you’re willing, share your answers to the assignment. (Some words of caution about today’s content. Be kind, be careful, and be hopeful. Share your stories, but do so with a hope to reconcile and redeem, not to tear down and criticize. Go slow. Ask for what you need. Take a few days to do this part of the assignment if that’s what you need.)
Remember to offer grace and a blessing. The goal of today’s assignment is to, as a team, find something of gratitude for the difficult experiences you’ve had together. This is not an exercise to excuse what has happened, or to enable it to happen again. It is to find a way to say “thank you” together for what has been present in your lives as a couple.
(Similar to yesterday’s assignment) Break a vase, repair it, etch it with gold. Fill the vase with rocks of blessings from difficult moments in your lives together.