Move On


move on

The stories people tell at funerals.

We were burying Christine, a woman who would soon have been ninety. A good friend, Donna, remembered how she complained and whined to Christine about some recent changes in church worship, and after a few weeks of this Christine just said, “Get over it. Move on.” Donna was stunned: Here was this nice woman, her close friend for decades who was telling her in a loving way to shut up! Donna just laughed at the wisdom of it.

Move on. That was Christine. She had heart attacks and strokes, she had sores on her feet that would not heal because the circulation was so bad and the bones were showing through, and yet she didn’t complain about her health. I would visit her and she would look right at me and smile (though she could only see my shadow, so advanced was her macular degeneration). She endured her pain and moved on.

Nine years ago her husband died. She grieved for Dan, who was the love of her life—had been since she was fifteen. But she didn’t curl up and waste away. She honored their love by living. She found people she could love and serve, often the neediest.

Years ago, Christine had told me, their daughter took up with a strange, cultish group who required her to cut off her family. They did everything they could to bring their daughter back, and nothing worked; the estrangement became absolute. They didn’t know where she was. She literally disappeared from their lives. They did everything they could, Christine said, and then she and Dan let it go. “We gave it to God,” she said.

Move on.

I love that. My generation is more likely to go to a therapist and spend eight or ten years talking about “how paralyzed I am by my struggle and pain.” Giants like Christine show us how to look clearly and coldly at reality, to do everything we can do, and then—move on. Love life not as you fantasize about it, but as it really is. Trust that when you can’t hold it together anymore, there is a greater One who can hold it for you. Move with confidence and as much peace and happiness as you can muster into the life you have been given, claim its joys despite its trials, and help others to find their peace and joy as well. That is a life well lived.

11 Responses to Move On
  1. Pam Anderson
    June 3, 2014 | 8:30 am

    It’s easy to get stuck, especially as you age. Thanks for sharing this example of someone who got it right. Would love to stay awhile longer, but I gotta move on. Happy 36th Anniversary!

    • David Anderson
      June 3, 2014 | 8:33 am

      Yes–you’ve helped me to move on so many times in the past 36 years. Thank you.

  2. Matt
    June 3, 2014 | 8:39 am

    This is interesting advice. I think it definitely can work on the everyday nuissances like a church servive being changed or a business meeting being postponed and the like…but I went through a period where I was literally ‘paralyzed’ by life and had someone close to me say ‘Get over it’ and it was the absolute thing I didn’t need to hear at the time because I couldn’t.

    • David Anderson
      June 4, 2014 | 10:28 am

      You make a great point, Matt. If we “move on” before we really look clearly at the situation, we’re likely just denying or “stuffing” or running away. I think what a 90 year-old like Christine represents for me is someone who’s spent a lot of time thrashing and wrestling with big issues like loss of health, loss of a child, death of a beloved spouse–and has finally come to the point where she can let it go.

  3. Sandy Oldfield
    June 4, 2014 | 12:45 am

    i love it that you two are still helping each other with perspective, after 36 years. I’ve had to move on and it was a very good thing. Right now I have Megan Bean, a former clergy wife under Walter, visiting and we are having fun reminiscing about life 35 years ago and how we’ve changed and still remain dear friends though we don’t often see each other. It’s good to look back but not be caught in the past. Your Christine sounds like she figured that out a long time ago. Thanks for sharing this. Oh, and a very happy anniversary to you two!

  4. Michael
    June 4, 2014 | 12:14 pm

    Another good one, David. Good for Christine and all who can follow this simple advice. Happy Anniversary to you and Pam.

  5. Sue and Dave Benner
    June 5, 2014 | 8:13 pm

    lovely story about Christine. Great photo of you both and happy 36th! Sue was 80 today. Dave

  6. Johnna
    June 9, 2014 | 7:23 am

    Thank you, David. Moving on is trusting that we are held in a much larger, much holier reality than we usually care to admit…Peace, Johnna

  7. Greg
    June 11, 2014 | 9:05 pm

    Very nice and always a much needed reminder. Too often I get stuck and define myself by the pain or situation as opposed to feeling a spirit that is bigger or as my dog would say – “just kick some grass over that sh*t and move on”! Thanks for your thoughts. Greg

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