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.
The older you get, the more great memories you have that center around the marvelous American traditions of Thanksgiving. It’s one of my favorite times of the year!
My memories include going to West Texas and passing by lots of turkey farms where the gangly birds could be seen by the hundreds. They were so cute when little, but the bigger the bird, the more the ‘strut’. Turkeys strut, just like some people I’ve known.
When the leaves begin to fall and the wind begins to whistle through the pines, I think of my folk’s lake home on Cedar Creek in East Texas. We’d gather there for Thanksgiving and laugh ourselves silly. I can still smell my mother’s huge kitchen awash in aromas of goodies.
Being a history nut, I’m keenly aware of the 400 year “First Thanksgiving” anniversary coming up in 2020. Imagine. Four hundred years since the Mayflower sailed from England full of saints and sailors searching for a new life. There were 102 men, women and children on that rickety, smelly cargo hole where they were stashed for 66 days. They got a late start from the old country and disembarked at Plymouth Rock too late to plant a thing. But they were grateful to be alive and held a prayer service before beginning the arduous task of building hasty shelters. Half of them starved the first winter. But God sent help, in the form of an English speaking Indian named Squanto. The Pilgrims, and their new Indian friends celebrated their first Thanksgiving with a three-day feast in the fall of 1621. They were thankful to the God of heaven for the bountiful food, for the Indians’ help and most of all, for the Almighty’s faithfulness. It reminds me of a song of thanks I’ve taught my grandchildren:
Psalm 92:1-2. “It is good to give thanks to the Lord and to sing praises to Your name, Most High! To declare Your kindness in the morning and Your faithfulness by night…and Your faithfulness by night.”
Many Americans in 2019 seem ambivalent to the bountiful blessings that Almighty God has heaped on us. To some, Thanksgiving is about football and food…in that order. But as we cram more and more mashed potatoes or pumpkin pie into our mouths, perhaps we need to pause and reflect. We would do well to remember how He saved our wretched lives from Hell and gave us new redeemed ones. I for one, am shocked how good He has been to give me family and friends by the boatload with undeserved and unmerited favor to boot!
The older I get, the more I realize it’s about our marvelous Savior and God’s infinite mercy in giving us beautiful people to decorate our lives. How dull life would be without them. His people surround us like so many turkeys on a farm. Sometimes they are cute and fuzzy like the baby turkeys. Other times they drive us crazy when they “strut their stuff.” All precious, but each one just a tad different than the other.
This Thanksgiving, agree with me to love and hug more, fuss and fume less. As you gather with loved ones, go around the table and remember the goodness of our Father. Good food, yes, but good memories, more.
Reflection is good for the soul. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!
BIO: Bettye Petree served Magazine and Newspaper Editor for Southland Life, Texas Director and National Prayer Lead for National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools, four terms as School Board Trustee for Lovejoy ISD, and Texas Life Award, PTA of Texas. She is a graduate of Christ for the Nations and an ordained minister. Her awards include Communicator of the Year - International Association of Business Communicators and Woman of the Year Matrix Award - Women in Communications. She is married with three grown children and six grandchildren.
Published on Sunday, November 3, 2019 @ 9:13 PM CDT
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