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.
Though we may not always feel it, God is at work in our lives. And sometimes, by grace, we have a tiny bit of “Godsight”—a small glimpse at how and why He is doing what He’s doing.
I saw God’s work in my life last week. I had ended my time volunteering for a ministry at my church, but I still felt called to serve. Five days later, I attended the writer’s conference with Roaring Lambs. At this event, an opportunity to volunteer to edit copy was mentioned. This is ideal for me, as I have “proofreader’s eyes.” I’m always on the lookout for a misplaced apostrophe or comma. I would be honored to proofread content about God and how He works in us and through us. So I contacted the organization to get more information about volunteering as a proofreader.
Additionally, I feel that God is calling me to bring to life the book I’ve dreamed about writing for most of my life. It looks different than I would have pictured it years ago. Twenty years ago, I thought I would write the Great American Novel. Five years ago, I wanted to write a bone-chilling thriller. Now, I want to write about the Lord, and I pray that God will give me the words I need to glorify Him.
Three things were reiterated for me this weekend:
- God’s timeline is not the same as our timeline. Sometimes a timeline created by our standards happens exactly as we prescribe. For example, I wanted to be engaged by the time I was thirty. My boyfriend was happy to oblige, proposing a month before my thirtieth birthday. But God doesn’t work the same way as your boyfriend, and I think that God has paved the way in my life for me to write the book I need to write, granting me a wider perspective now.
- An event may look like a setback, but it’s really a setup for something greater. A friend of mine was miserable in her job, feeling drained at the end of each day. She applied for several positions and interviewed at a variety of companies. Finally, she interviewed for her current role and was offered the job. She could have given up out of frustration from countless interviews. However, through these interviews, she perfected her interviewing skills and landed a job just minutes away from her home.
- The Red Sea wasn’t parted until Moses stepped into it. I can’t recall if this was stated by a speaker or one of the ladies sitting next to me. But my take on this point is: a goal may look daunting, but once you take the first step, God will make the way for you. Like the Chinese proverb says, a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.
God is at work in your life. You may not always see it happening, but hopefully you’ll see the results. Praise God and thank God for all that He does.
“Give thanks to the God of heaven. His faithful love endures forever” (Psalms 136:26) (NLT)
Sarah R. Bactad is a senior marketing professional. In her spare time, she enjoys writing and finding typographical errors.
Published on Wednesday, August 1, 2018 @ 4:25 PM CDT
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