Last changed: Jul 01, 2011 12:00 by Michael Crichton
Coming to terms with loss in our lives is part of the journey we all face in our earthly walk. In part 1 I pointed out that there are various stages of grief that go with loss and it is helpful to be able to step back in times of loss and work out exactly what is going on within yourself. Easier said than done but worth trying to do!
The question that I want us to consider in this second paper is this: Is there such a thing as good grief? By which I mean is it possible to grieve well or can we grieve badly? The answer to both is 'yes' but we all should aim to be good grievers. How is that possible? One of the primary ways in which we don't grieve well is when we try to short circuit the process. As I suggested in Part 1 there are 5 stages to grief and we have to pass through them all in order to come out the other side. However, what many of us have learnt to do it to deny or short circuit our grieving process which means that as life rolls on we end up with a backlog of ungrieved losses. This is heavy baggage to carry!
So instead of feeling the sadness we need to feel because of the loss - we often short circuit the process by rushing to do things to make us 'feel' happy again - to wash over the reality of our feelings. How often have you been told 'don't feel sad' with the answer then being 'let's go shopping, or drinking or to the movies'? We live in a culture built on escapism and occasionally that can be good but when it comes to grieving there can be no short cuts - we need to feel the weight of sadness and move through the stages of grief.
Arch Hart suggests the following rules for 'good' grieving:
1. The greater the loss the deeper the depression/grieving needs to be.
2. The deeper the depression/grieving the longer it takes to resolve it.
3. The more we 'allow' or 'give in' to the depression/grief the faster it resolves.
4. Resolution comes when we fully understand the loss and let it go (say goodbye)
5. Accepting the reality of the loss - is a vital step!
6. Learn to place the loss in perspective (Phil. 3.7-8)
7. Letting go must take place - attachment is the problem.
8. We need to learn from our depression/grief - it is a window to your soul
As fellow travellers on the journey of life - we want to help each other become 'good' grievers - so that we remain emotionally healthy and are able to lovingly support others in their hour of need. As I have said previously - these are big subjects that touch us all. If you want to talk them through by all means contact me or if you would like to do some further reading Arch Hart books are an invaluable resource.
As Christians, the perspective we need - is to keep focused on Jesus Christ - as Paul says in Philippians 3.7, 'But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss, for the sake of Christ. What is more I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things.' May we all learn to grieve well! Michael