Wash Day Grief
Have you ever noticed the settings on your washing machine as they relate to grief? Consider these common washing machine settings:
NORMAL: Normal responses following a loss may include mood changes, changes in eating and sleeping patterns, feelings of anger, abandonment, despair, loss of concentration, loss of energy, and the loss of motivation. These responses can vary based upon previous loss experiences, our relationships, and even our personality.
SMALL LOAD: Each person’s grief is a major life event. However, there may be some days the grief pain is not as intense. These days offer the time to catch your breath. Regardless of the relationship…regardless of the circumstances surrounding the loss…it is a major loss.
LARGE LOAD: Grief can bring on very intense feelings. These feelings can be overwhelming, even to someone with a history of always being under control. We can be paralyzed emotionally because of the shock a loss brings.
SPIN CYCLE: Several events can throw a griever into a “spin cycle”. Holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, photos, music, food, and even fragrances can begin the “spin cycle” of emotions. These are normal twists and turns along the journey of grief.
RINSE CYCLE: The rinse cycle is a time of refreshing. Tears provide a natural rinsing, a cleansing of the soul. Grief encompasses all of the confusing and painful emotions felt after a loss. Mourning is the outward expression of these feelings...whether through tears, words, or actions.
COOL DOWN: No one can take grief away. Expressing grief to a safe person, or becoming part of a grief support group, can provide a “cool down” time. These steps can help soften the pain of grief, but the awareness of the loss will remain.
Give yourself permission to be a “NORMAL” griever. Some days will bring a “SMALL LOAD” of grief…other days will consist of a “LARGE LOAD”. The “SPIN CYCLE” may be intense at times…while the “RINSE CYCLE” of tears can cleanse the soul as we mourn the loss. Peace and acceptance can offer a “COOL DOWN” phase…a time of rest.
Jesus did NOT say “Blessed are those who GRIEVE”! But, He DID say “Blessed are those who MOURN, for they shall be comforted.” Matthew 5:4. Grief is the confusing tangle of emotions and feelings that are within following a loss. These may feel like loneliness, sadness, emptiness, anger, guilt and regrets. No one can see our grief, it is personal and private.
But, when we talk about these feelings the grief becomes mourning. A good definition of mourning is “grief gone public”. Mourning may be talking about the feelings, or even actions to honor the life of a loved one who died. Every one grieves, but not everyone mourns in a healthy manner.
Find a safe person who will let you talk about your feelings. As you talk about your grief you are mourning the loss…according to Jesus, that is when you find comfort.
Psalms 147:3 “He heals the brokenhearted, He binds up their heart”.
Bob Willis has served as a Southern Baptist minister and hospice Bereavement Coordinator. He is a frequent speaker on grief, loss, and caregiver issues. His book “A Guide For Grievers” was released in June 2017, providing information on grief and supporting those who have experienced a loss. Bob has been a sculptor for over 25 years. In May of 2018, he became the Sculptor at The Great Passion Play, Eureka Springs, Arkansas.
Set your house in order because Christ could come today . . .
And some tasks may be unfinished if you are called away.
An angel may have told you at the early morning light . . .
“Your Lord will come this evening and you’ll be home with Him tonight.”
Our hearts may become clouded as we think of work undone . . .
Those seeds that weren’t scattered and the crowns that we might have won.
There were souls we meant to speak to and Bible verses we meant to share . . .
And there were a lot of wasted moments we could have spent in prayer.
Now there are a few short moments to set undone things right . . .
And feverishly we’d labor until we see the warning light.
We all have a slothful soul and a careless heart and some spiritual eyes that seem to have no sight . . .
We need to work, and not reap in vain regrets, because my Lord Jesus may come tonight.
“Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” (Matthew 24:44)
Tom Kesting was born and raised in Bluefield, West Virginia, and attended West Virginia University on a football scholarship. He worked in the marketplace doing sales and marketing for 30 years and worked at In Touch Ministries for 26 years. Tom became a Christian when he was 41 years old. Three days a week he broadcasts a 15-minute inspiration program on Facebook and sends out daily encouraging emails to friends and to those interested in positive encouragement and inspiration. Tom lives in Lilburn, Georgia, and has been married for 20 years.
This is the month for romance. The stores are full of hearts, candy, balloons, and flowers all awaiting use in the middle of the month. I can’t complain. I love the influx of new movies on the Hallmark channel and clean romance novels to add to my to-read pile. I even write romantic fiction and this month is full of new inspiration.
But romance and love are not the same things. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve finished reading a book or watching a movie and declared, “I give it six months.” Many couples involved in fictional romances simply don’t have what it takes to engage in real love.
There’s an old song from the ’80s by Steve Camp. Maybe you remember it? “Love’s Not a Feeling,” declared that there was no emotion involved in the concept. I won’t go that far, but the word is definitely a verb, characterized by action that shows the depth of commitment, whether in friendship or affection. It isn’t as some websites suggest, focused on physical attraction or defined by moments or situations that cause deepened relational connections. And, contrary to those same websites, most romantic movies, and daytime shows, it doesn’t have to include drama.
We are encouraged to love one another in order to show God’s love. We are directed to love our neighbors, particularly those who aren’t so very loveable. We are even told that if we don’t have love for others, what we do have is of very little value no matter how amazing it seems.
My longtime minister and friend passed away last year. Dennis Slaughter always told me, “People don’t care how much you know until they see how much you care.” I’ve since learned this is an old saying from someone long ago, but the truth is profound. And I’ve experienced this kind of love before:
- Years ago, I enjoyed watching my teenage son help a mom and her large family out of a daycare and into their car.
- Even before that, my sweet hubby used to take baby-duty at night just to let me indulge in a full eight hours of sleep.
- My longtime friend brought my sick family a bag full of soups and applesauce.
- After my husband had lost his job, members of our church family helped support us for one more month until his new job began.
- And just last year, I reached the check out at a drive-thru and found the person in front of me had paid for my meal.
Have you seen love in action like that? Maybe you’ve been the one showing the Lord’s love? I’d love to hear about your experiences. You can share them with me at MLaine@RoaringLambs.org.
A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples if you love one another. - John 13:34 - 35
BIO: Marji Laine is the Director of Publishing Services at RoaringWriters.org. Give her a holler if you have a question about publishing, writing, homeschooling, raising twins, or directing a children’s choir. She might not be an expert in all those areas, but she can help you brainstorm some ideas and be your cheerleader as you go along.
Published on Friday, January 31, 2020 @ 8:04 PM CDT
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