Many times when I meet with people who have lost a loved one to death, they wonder if they are living the right life. What went wrong? Why me? Why my family member? Did I do something wrong? Is God punishing me? These are haunting questions that make those-that-mourn wonder if they have somehow taken the wrong road. However, even in the midst of deep grief and mourning, it is always a pleasure for me to tell them . . . they are living the right life. A life of love is the right life to live even though it hurts. Even so, in the middle of loss, sometimes life feels like it has gone down the wrong road.
I love the scene in “Planes, Trains and Automobiles” when the drivers of two different cars are going the same way but each on the opposite side of the freeway. Obviously, one of the drivers is GOING THE WRONG WAY! In fact, this type of yelling goes back and forth between the drivers claiming the other one is GOING THE WRONG WAY! People in mourning sometimes feel they are going the wrong way as life continues to go on.
I find it helpful to be able to tell a bereaved person that they are going the right way even though it seems like the wrong way. Experts tell us that love and grief go hand-in-hand. If we choose to love, we automatically choose to grieve. Plus, our grief speaks of our love. We grieve much because we loved much. One really cannot have love without grief. It is only natural that one grieves when a loved one dies.
This may explain why some people choose not to love. If they do not love, they will not grieve and, therefore, they will not hurt. So, what then is the kind of life they have chosen to live? When one chooses not to live a life of love, one chooses to live a life of anger, fear, bitterness, revenge, denial, or certainly something else other than love.
When I see someone who is deeply grieved and actively mourning and still choosing to love, I have to affirm their choice. “Yes, life hurts now but you are choosing to live the right life. YOU ARE LIVING THE RIGHT LIFE!” Living a life of love makes the difference between being transformed by one's losses or destroyed by one's losses. A life of love is always the right life to live even in the midst of deep pain.