We have all sorts of cliches about how things always change. Nothing Lasts Forever. Change is Inevitable. Tomorrow is a New Day. Because we all know that to be true of life. 99% of things changes over the course of a life. Usually your name stays the same, but not if you get married or adopted. Usually your hair color or skin color or eye color stay the same, but not of you dye it or tan or change contacts. Usually your height and build stay mostly the same, but not if you wear heels, have an accident or gain or lose a large amount of weight. Usually your family stays the same, but eventually you lose some of them either to death or disagreement. In my 3 years at the adoption agency I found that the vast majority of people also stayed geographically where they had started, within about a 50 mile radius. But depending on jobs and callings and relationships that changes too.
Change can be scary and hard and intimidating. But there is also comfort in change. There is hope in change. I can take comfort from recognizing that someday, I will be able to watch a friend get walked down a wedding aisle on her daddy's arm and not want to scream and wail. Someday I will be able to watch the daddy/daughter dance at a reception and not want to curl up in the fetal position in a closet somewhere. Someday those things won't sting as badly as they did yesterday. I am very happy for my friend. Truly so happy for her. She has found a match and they made their covenant yesterday and it was beautiful. And I am so happy for her that she gets to start that journey of life as part of a marriage. And that is the living, breathing, epitomized definition of bittersweet. I can be so happy for her, and yet still want to curl up in a ball and weep.
I've heard it said a few different places that you can't feel two emotions at the same time. Maybe what they mean is two opposite emotions. Because I could feel happy for my friend yesterday and feel grief over my loss at the same time. We've all heard of a love/hate relationship. I can thoroughly enjoy a much too large piece of chocolate cake while also feeling guilty about the overindulgence and what that will mean for my waistline. I can even be grateful for blessings through our loss while still deeply grieving my dad's death. We are such complex and emotional beings, why do we buy into it when someone simply states that you can't feel two emotions at once? We can multitask can't we? We can cry and laugh at the same time, can't we? And we've all had that experience of one emotion suddenly sliding into a different emotion unexpectedly. Laughing so hard with a friend and suddenly being hit with a wave of grief or flash of anger. Weeping for loss and suddenly remembering a funny story or seeing something ridiculous that makes you laugh.
Change is good. Ecclesiastes even says it, there is a time for every season. I can cry for my loss and be happy for my friend's gain. I can take hope in knowing that someday the pain of my loss won't be quite so sharp as it was yesterday. I can even take hope in knowing that there are still a few good, decent, Jesus-loving men "out there" that I might just cross paths with someday. I can take hope in knowing nothing lasts forever. Hope in knowing that everything changes eventually. Hope in knowing that tomorrow is a new day.