Thursday, April 25, 2013

Workshop 2013 Spring Week 4: What, Not Why

We learned last night that focusing on the “why” questions can lead you into getting stuck and from a pragmatic view, circumvent the vibrant, transformed life that God so much wants you to have here on earth.   Consider moving to the “what” side of your situation.   Create a list of “what” questions for the trial you are currently experiencing.  (For example, “What part of my character is God working on in this trial?” or “What changes in my relationships could I make to better endure this trial?”)  Ask God these questions each day for a week.  And remember, God answers in his time, not ours.  Stop, listen and watch with expectation for his responses. 

Monday, April 22, 2013

Editor's Reflection on the Jouney: Why Is This So Hard?

As we move through the grief journey, there is often surprise and frustration as we discover our previous coping skills don’t seem to work in dealing with this scary and uncertain situation.   Nothing we have experienced in the past seems to translate into this new and uncharted process. Most of us have previously experienced pain, separation, heartache, and even loss, but we will experience death of a loved one as a very different concept to conquer.

So how do we begin to understand and acquire the tools we need to be successful on our grief journey?  Grieving in community is the biggest step we can take on our path to healing.    When we don’t know what to do in our lives, we often look for expert advice and information. There is such practical information we can learn from others who have also experienced a death.   And the Grief Support workshop is another way to gain even more knowledge, insight, and concrete examples of how to walk this path successfully.
It is also important to think about how God has created us as His children here on earth.  God originally created us to be His eternal companions, to be in community with Him and to NEVER die.  Being created to never die means our brains and hearts are not wired to truly understand this horrible event called death. Even though sin entered the world and caused the consequence of death to enter into every life journey, it is not something we will ever truly understand or embrace.
“So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.”  Genesis 1:27   
The challenge to us is accepting that as fallen images of God, we cannot understand the process, reasoning, or occurrence of death. We need to accept the fact that we will NEVER truly understand death, the what, where, how, and why, and rest in that fact as being a good thing. We were created to be eternal.  We ARE eternal.  But God has left us with words of the consequence of walking away from Him, or accepting Him.
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.”  Romans 6:23
As we wrestle with the dark side of this process, may we appreciate, embrace and grasp the promise God has given us – of eventually leaving the darkness of death for the brightness of eternity in His presence.   Let us choose Him and His grace and ask for His healing as we all move towards new beginnings and our own eventual ending here on earth.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Workshop 2013 Spring Week 3: How Not to Get Stuck in Our Grief

How do you react to pain, particularly emotional pain?  Human beings are, for the most part, hard-wired to avoid it.  When we are hit with the storms of grief, the most natural thing in the world is for us to try to avoid feeling it and thinking about what is causing us pain.  It takes tremendous courage to mourn our loss(es), because it requires us to think about and feel the very things we want to avoid thinking about and feeling.  What triggers your feelings of grief?  A song?  Certain places with particular memories?  Pictures of your loved one or loved ones? 

One of the ways we can get stuck is to deny ourselves the time and space to engage in this remembering.   We think or are told that there is no point in it; you can’t go back, no one can make the past different so just move on…but it is important.   Spending time remembering our loved one is essential to making progress in our grief journey and in healing our broken hearts.  Why is this so important when it causes so much pain?  Because it is the way that we gradually shift our emotional attachment from the physical, bodily person who is separated from us to our memories of the person.  And those memories cannot be taken from us.   Take a few minutes this week to look at pictures (or listen to songs or visit places) of your loved one(s), and try to remember the stories around those pictures – even if they bring you to tears.  If possible, tell someone that you trust these precious memories.  In the bittersweet-ness of those moments, you will begin to get little pieces of your own broken heart back.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Workshop: 2013 Spring Week 2 - Tear Soup

Whether or not we are comfortable with crying as a way of expressing our sadness, tears become a part of our journey.  Depending on our own personal history, tears can mean so many different things and either become a way to heal, OR an obstacle as we struggle mightily not to cry or “give in” to our tears.  Ask yourself " what causes my tear soup to be ruined?"   Make some conscious decisions about how tears can play a role in your healing process.  

Consider rereading “The Healing Property of Tears” commentary you discussed in your small groups.   It is important to understand that anything that feels threatening or fearful to us can slow us down on our Grief Journey.  Make your own courageous decisions that will keep you on the path to healing. 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Workshop: 2013 Spring Week 1 - In The Right Place

Take some quiet time this week to consider what your expectations are around attending this Grief Support workshop. List three reasons why you decided to attend and write them on the back of the Introduction page in the packet you received last night. Then, take a moment to reflect on your emotions and feelings as you experienced the first session on Wednesday night. Write down your top three feelings as you left the workshop.

Suggestion: Locate a binder or folder to store your materials each week so that you can review the above at the end of our eight weeks together. You may be amazed!