English poet Robert Southey wrote, “The loss of a friend is like that of a limb; time may heal the anguish of the wound, but the loss cannot be repaired.”
The film Courageous uses an adaptation of this quote as the pastor in the movie says to a grieving father, “I’ve heard it said that losing a loved one is like losing a limb. Eventually it heals, but you’ll never be the same.”
How intimately I can relate to that sentiment. Eight months ago, I lost a limb of my own. That limb was my mother.
In the Lord’s grace, I have yet to lose an actual, physical arm or leg. My only experience in this regard has been related to a shoulder injury. My doctor told me that the only way for it to heal would be for me to not use my right arm. Little did he know just how much a stay-at-home mother of three is in need of her right arm!
I begrudgingly succumbed to the doctor’s orders, but I felt like I couldn’t do anything! I should emphasize that I am right-handed, and my left hand is virtually good for nothing. With my right arm in a sling, I couldn’t hang the laundry on the line. It was a joke to even think about trying to fold the clean clothes.
The simple job of washing my hair became a monumental task. The daily routine of getting dressed required more stamina than I could muster up. Attempting to turn the pages of a book while reading for my kids took considerable planning.
Without the use of just one of my four limbs, I felt a tremendous disadvantage. If I had remained in that condition for an extended amount of time, I’m sure I would’ve found small ways to adapt. But I was not the same.
Thankfully, in the Lord’s grace, He provided other arms for me. Smaller arms, but willing arms, eager to help and serve. My three children were an incredible blessing during my temporary handicap. They took great delight in helping me cook, cleaning the house, even surprising me by making my bed. When their arms were insufficient for certain tasks, my husband willingly stepped in by going to the grocery store, washing dishes and carving chicken.
Even though I didn’t have the use of my right arm for a time, the Lord filled that gap. No, I was not the same, and no, my kids couldn’t meet all of my needs. Even the things they could help with were not done exactly the way I would’ve done them. But they were an undeniable blessing nonetheless.
In a similar way, ever since my mother’s death, I have felt as though a limb is missing. There are many things I can no longer do. Yet the Lord has brought people along to step into that gap — not to fill it completely, but to make the open space seem a little less wide and daunting. People like surrogate grandmas to come to my kids’ art exhibitions. A gem of a mother-in-law who is sympathetic to my healing wound. Friends of my mom’s who make a point to keep in touch and check in on me, just because they care.
As the body of Christ, one of the privileges we enjoy is to be a blessing to others. As we walk this journey called life, many will cross our paths who have lost limbs of their own. Perhaps it is a miscarriage, or a divorce.
We might find others in life who are missing the same limb that we are missing, or who have recently experienced a similar amputation. It is at times like these that we can employ 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 and comfort those with the comfort that we ourselves have received from God.
At other times, we might find someone who is in need of a limb that we still have functioning. In those instances, we can take advantage of the opportunity to “encourage one another and build each other up” (1 Thessalonians 5:11). We can serve as their crutches or their wheelchair for a time.
Though “the loss cannot be repaired,” as Robert Southey so aptly observed, we can do much as sisters in Christ to carry one another’s burdens. With the help of God, we can be effective prosthetic arms and legs to support those who have suffered loss.
Welcome to Ungrind!
Do you want to be inspired, motivated, and equipped to live the everyday story of your life well?
If so, you’re in the right place. Whether you need encouragement in your relationships or in your faith, I hope you’ll find the transparent voices of mentors and friends here at Ungrind.
So, grab a cup of coffee and keep reading. We're so glad you're here!
Ashleigh Slater, Founder & Managing Editor
Get Our Free Ebook!
3 Ways to Navigate Personality Differences
Sometimes personality differences can wear on us. Here are three ways we can navigate them in a loving manner.
Surprised By ‘A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood’
If you haven't seen this film, God may speak to your heart through it in ways you weren't expecting.
The Wedding Ring
Are you struggling in your marriage? Here's how a wedding ring helped one wife fight for her marriage.
5 Ways to Live an Out-of-Control Life
Here are 5 ways to let go of control and trust your present and your future to God.
5 Creative Places to Find Prayer Accountability
Do you want to pray more, but are easily distracted? Here are some practical ways to stay focused.
How to Rescue a Day Gone Wrong in Your Marriage
Just because a day doesn't start well, doesn't mean you can't rescue it.
How To Change Your Life in 10 Minutes
Here's how you can change your life with a simple 10 minutes a day.
What Women Are Saying
-- Sarah Martin, author of Stress Point: Thriving Through Your Twenties in a Decade of Drama
"Real life is not always pleasant. Every marriage experiences disappointments, misunderstandings, sickness and financial crisis. Ashleigh doesn’t camouflage the pain in her own marriage, and offers practical ideas on how to walk through the difficulties and find intimacy on the journey. If you are anything like me, I predict that as you read, you too will find yourself laughing, wiping tears, and saying 'Oh, yes.'"
-- Gary Chapman, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The 5 Love Languages
We are a member of the Amazon affiliate program and regularly use affiliate links. If you purchase an item from an Amazon link we provide, we will receive a small referral commission. This doesn’t cost you anything additional. We only share books, music, and products that our writers personally have used and highly recommend.
Faith4 years ago
When Doing Justly, Loving Mercy, and Walking Humbly Stand at Odds
Motherhood4 years ago
Surviving a Strong-Willed Child
Faith4 years ago
7 Ways to Create A Family Altar
Friendship5 years ago
Beyond the Registry: The Ultimate Gift Guide for Expectant Parents
Relationships2 months ago
5 Ways to Teach Your Child to Hear God
Marriage6 years ago
4 Reasons I’m Not Facebook Friends With My Husband
Everyday Faith4 years ago
6 Simple Ways to Give Thanks in the Thick of It
Articles5 years ago
10 Ways Life is Like a Box of Chocolates
Articles7 years ago
How to Lift Up the One You Love
Articles5 years ago
Relationships7 months ago
Facing Our Motherhood Fears
Digging Into Scripture2 months ago
How the Psalms Speak to Our Emotions