Surviving Dates that Live in Infamy

God created the kind of world where days, weeks and years can be tracked. If nothing else feels ordered in this life, at least we know each day will lead to night, and each night will be followed by another day, and so on and so on. This makes calendaring possible, giving us the ability to pause and remember significant turning points in our lives. But to what end?

“…a date that will live in infamy…”

President Roosevelt coined this phrase in response to the sudden and surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941. And sure enough, for the past seventy-five years, the United States of America continues to pause each December 7th to honor and remember the tragic events and lives lost on that day.

Some of us have our own days of infamy. The day we found out about the affair… the day of the car accident…the day our precious loved one finally succumbed to cancer…the day of the miscarriage…the day of the suicide… Each year—every 364 days—we wake up to these memories and trace all the ways our lives have changed since that fateful day. We often dread this date, thinking about it for weeks until it finally arrives.

Right now, where I live, the promise of new life is unfolding all around me. Hostas are poking up through the ground, daffodils are blooming, and trees that looked completely forsaken for months, now wear beautiful garments of white, pink and purple.

Taking all this in reminds me that maybe, just maybe God will bring new life out of my forsaken places. That grief and grace, when held together, can create in me a habit of hope.

Make a Plan

If you have a difficult anniversary coming up, consider making plans for ways you will hold grief and grace together on that day. Invite a friend or two to share it with you. Perhaps you can visit a place that holds precious memories or look through old photos together. Allow yourself to grieve, but if possible, try not to do it alone. Then end your time of grieving by taking in something beautiful–a good meal, walking through a botanical garden or nature trail, attending a concert, or anything that tends to breathe life back into your soul. Remind yourself sorrow and beauty are often sewn together. Embracing this truth will help you cultivate your own habit of hope.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope” (Romans 15:13).


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