A few years ago I read The Shack, a remarkable story of loss, pain, anger, vengeance, love, sorrow, forgiveness, and reconciliation. Last night I watched the movie The Shack based on that book. I highly recommend both the book and the movie, It could change your life.
Oddly enough (or maybe not so oddly) this morning I read a meditation by Woodeene Koenig-Bricker entitled Grief (365 Mary). The connections between the movie (book) and this meditation are so real that it could not have been coincidental.
The Shack takes us on a father’s transformative spiritual journey following the tragic death of his young daughter, chronicling this father’s crisis of faith as he questions the existence of God and the purpose of life.
Koenig-Bricker speaks to us of Elisabeth Kubler-Ross’ five stages of death: denial, anger, bargaining, acceptance, and finally peace. Kubler-Ross asserted that everyone who is grieving a loss, big or small, goes through similar stages.
To quote Koenig-Bricker:
Of all the losses we experience, the death of a loved one is by far the most devastating…Once we have experienced death in all its horror, we’re changed forever. It’s at that moment that we can begin to recognize what grief is: God’s analgesic for what would otherwise be literally impossible…as anyone who has lost a loved one, no matter how prepared you are, grief still rips your heart and makes you feel as if you too could die.
The main message that I have received from The Shack and Grief is the overpowering and overwhelming realization once more that we are never alone; that God loves us as if we were the only one; that God’s arms are around our shoulders through everything on our journey; that we can make it through only with God’s hand; that even at our lowest, saddest, most impossible times, God’s love will enfold us and give us peace. The only caveat: at some point in our journey we must realize and accept these truths; the only ones that matter.
MAY GOD BE PRAISED!
The Shack by William P. Young
The Shack directed by Stuart Hazeldine
365 Mary by Woodeene Koenig-Bricker