Friday, December 22, 2017


©2017 Chantelle Henderson

Before you read the excerpt from “How To Survive A Shipwreck” by Jonathan Martin, I wanted to share my personal thoughts on it; not just my thoughts but my heart.  The words from the book brought me comfort and peace many times after my father’s homegoing in September of 2016 - too many times to count.  I would (and still do) just close my eyes and look at the word picture the author painted.
This is my own commentary and what came to me personally.  Your journey may look a little different although I think there are some truths in here that would apply to us all who grieve:
During our grief journeys we face the truths of this excerpt from “How To Survive A Shipwreck.  If we grieve, we have indeed paid a very high and precious price for our grief in exchange for our tears, groaning, wailing, yearning, longing, begging, praying, and pleading for things to be different; for things to be the way they were before the enormous, life altering, earth shattering storm that made us feel like all hope was lost. The cost can feel too high to pay time and time again, but we have to pay it nonetheless because life didn’t give us a choice. It offered us no chance of sparing immeasurable pain and grief. We cannot un-ring the bells of loss that shattered our heart into what feels like a million pieces. That person, that relationship, seeing our dreams and hopes for the marriage that fell apart-that miscarriage or abortion, the infidelity or abuse, the cancer, being blindsided by the unexpected death of a loved all comes at a cost to our being, even at times feeling like our very soul. Life as we know it no longer exists. It will never be the same again. The part that drives many of us to anger is that it all happened completely and utterly against all and any will we possessed. No matter how much we are overtaken by the harsh waves in the ocean of loss, we find a way to come back up for air and grasp for whatever it is that keeps us from drowning. We reach for pieces of the wreckage that almost took us under, never to return, to stay afloat. One thing is for certain. WE WILL make it back to shore. And it is there that our journey of grief will truly begin because we are no longer at the mercy of the storm. We survived it. Now the storm is at the mercy of us. ~ CTH


How To Survive A Shipwreck
©2016 Jonathan Martin

“The first things overboard when your ship wrecked were all the reasons you ever had for sailing. And when the life you knew is a life you know no longer, and the ship that took you on a thousand adventures before can no longer even keep you afloat, you are right to wonder if there is anything left worth having.
While the sails were ripping and the boards splitting, you heard the sound of your spirit dying. And then came what might be the worst discovery: You didn’t die — not really. You walked away from the accident.
The experience of loss may have altered your taste buds forever. But it hardly killed them.
You watched dreams you cradled in your arms with the strength of all your tenderness descend into the sea. All that animated you, all that moved you before, could move you forward in the world no longer. The water filled your mouth and your nostrils, and you choked at the taste of it. But when the grief or the guilt or the loss recedes into the night and your soul sets sail again, you still dream — despite yourself.
In whatever remains in you that wants to create, to make, to birth something new, in whatever corner that longs for some kind of resurrection on the other side of death, something divine quietly snaps, fires, clicks, flickers. This ache is God’s fingerprint.  This is the liberating, terrifying discovery of life on the other side of the shipwreck. That while you are a creature — humble, dependent, small, in need of love and food and Shelter — you didn’t need anything else as much as you thought you did. That the things you knew would kill you don’t actually kill you. That the fire in you the sea should have drowned out, burns within you yet, if you do not let yourself smother it (and maybe even if you do). So much of the world you have known is no more. But if there is any truth in any of this at all, the shipwreck that threatened to destroy you utterly may be the thing that saves you yet. It may not drown you; it may transfigure you.”