Yesterday my nephew Griffin graduated from high school. Last week we enjoyed dinner with him to celebrate since there wasn’t a formal graduation. Because he is the youngest of the nieces and nephews, his graduation brought in a flood of memories of times gone by.

As Don and I drove home, I felt a bittersweet sadness mixed with the joy of celebrating Griff’s transition from high school to college. Some of the sadness is because he missed so much of his last year of school: lacrosse season (he was a varsity starter and team captain), hanging out with his friends, springtime on his school campus (he lived at school) and saying goodbye to his friends that he enjoyed life with for 5 years. 

And the rest was because I looked at this young man, all grown up, and remembered times past with him and his brother Tucker…
…boat rides at Lake Anna
…nightly Star Wars movies when they visited us in Raleigh, watching all 6 in order
…Griff swimming a lap of our pool in one breath when he was 6
…Tucker remembering where I left my keys in a book store when he was only 4
…sporting events from the time they were 6 – lacrosse, wrestling, soccer, football
…frosting a cake, and much of Griffin’s face
…Maryland vs. NC State football game
…many more, I can’t begin to list them all!

So many blessings and memories of time spent together! Where did the years go???

Don and I reminisced for a bit longer, and suddenly I felt hungry. OK, well, not really hungry, because we had just eaten dinner a few hours ago, but I wanted a McDonald’s double cheeseburger, fries, and a Dr. Pepper. Didn’t matter that it was 8PM, I wanted it. 

Generally I’m a healthy eater and I haven’t had a Dr Pepper in years. I knew it was grief talking and that the grief would pass. At that moment I didn’t care – I wanted it, craved it, could taste it.

So we stopped and ordered, and ate on the way home. In that moment I felt a bit of relief in my soul. I enjoyed the simple pleasure and did not beat myself up with guilt over it. Didn’t change anything… didn’t have to. I felt God’s love and His arms wrapped around me, and I knew He understood. 

I realized that for me, a moment of unhealthy eating was actually a healthy human expression of grief. I was not going to change my eating habits or get on a roll for days. I would probably feel it with a restless night of sleep (and I did), but that was OK. 

The next day I got up, went to work, business as usual, eating back to normal. Still a bit sad, but smiling as I remembered my Father’s love and acceptance in my moment of grief. 

Remembering the good times helps us grieve and makes us smile. And sometimes we just need to eat the cheeseburger!

Weeping may last through the night, 
but joy comes in the morning.
Psalm 30:5b

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