"A good friend of mine, who built his fortune out of dirt, said something a few years back that made a lasting impression on my life. I was telling my friend about all my troubles – which to me seemed insurmountable – and my friend said, 'Brother, I prayed for you this morning and God told me to tell you... it's just a pebble in your shoe!'" ~Michael S. Tyrrell, creator of Wholetones.

Mr. Tyrrell also offered this insight when faced with terrible grief and loss "It is natural to see your problems at face value, linearly. But, God, from His eternal, nonlinear vantage point, sees our problems as opportunities. In other words, when you're going through hell, don't stop to sightsee!"

In times of devastation, grief, or pain, you will find just how amazingly strong and resilient you are. Often, these setbacks cause our hope to look impossible but are merely a test of your determination and resolve. The negatives are temporary and can make you stronger. In life, it's often both the little and big annoyances, inconveniences, disappointments, and sorrowful happenings that build and empower you in character and temperament.

When faced with overwhelming loss and grief, it is natural to see hopelessness and your problem without a solution. God sees it differently from His eternal perspective. He can see our difficulty as a chance for us to grow. When you're going through a period of a depressing, deep dark fog, and when you feel torn apart, don't allow yourself to be permanently detoured. Never give up! The grief and loss you face are not insurmountable. As big as your problem may seem and in some instances may actually be, to God it is a pebble in your “grief shoe.”

Accept the personal challenge to take healing, action steps. Remove the pebble in your shoe. Dump out the sand of irritation, the pebbles of pain, and the rocks of grief! Begin the healing process you need to work beyond this chapter of your life – so you can see your future as - you living well! Often, to dump out the grief, it will be necessary to reconcile your grief. The healing is in the reconciling and acceptance of it. Rise up and meet your grief challenges head-on. Resolve to avert the crisis of a pebble in your shoe, and when it is over, you will one day be able to look at other’s suffering to say: "I can help you dump out the pebbles in your shoe of sorrow and loss. I can help you walk a mile in your grief shoes since I’ve been there too. I can help you find your personal unique healing path."

It seems to me that time keeps flying by at an uncontrollable speed. For me, the years fly by at an unprecedented rate. Nonetheless, time isn't controlled by emotions. Only what you perceive is altered. Time is absolute. It doesn’t matter whether you are strolling along the seashore, or praying in your private place, time trudges on at its appointed frequency. The Bible adds clarity to sorrowful grief and loss happenings: "Your Father which is in heaven... makes his sun to rise on the evil and on the good and sends rain on the just and on the unjust." ~Matthew 5:45

All will experience these pebbles in their shoes. Who is aware of the exact time that will happen? It is not a sign of being good or bad. It is life.

When you find yourself in grief, remember that you are not alone. My belief in God has strengthened me many, many times during my greatest pain and various needs. God knows and loves each of us personally. God can help us remove our grief shoe and dump the unbearable pebble. Let’s add God's help to our efforts. He can bless us with vital inspiration and added strength to find new purpose and take the necessary life-changing actions to begin healing and find hope, peace, and joy.

John T. Catrett, III serves as a Chaplain with ONHL Hospice. ONHL Hospice currently provides services to the majority of Northeastern Oklahoma but is available to accept patients statewide. Learn more at http://onhlhospice.com.