Part of the healing process of our hearts includes paying attention to our loss.
The nation of Israel had lost many things in Egypt. Their freedom, dreams, dignity, babies and loved ones, among other things, during their time in Egypt. They needed a time away from work and tasks to pay attention to their grieving pain. For us this loss can be church moves , job, divorce, lost dreams, loss of a leader, loss of innocence, loss of a loved one, etc.
I spent some time thinking about the losses that I have experienced in my life I listed them in my travel log and was shocked as I reached 25 major losses in my life fairly quickly. Things that I had brushed over and not given myself time to deal with. There are two times particularly that highlight for me how slow I am to grieve and how it has caused damage suppressing emotional trauma within me.
When I was 18 one of my best friends, in our gang of 6 during college, was killed whilst driving a car past the end of our road. I didn’t cry over the loss for 7 months. I remember the day God tackled me to the ground in order for me to give him my pain. It was a vivid memory for me – the day I cried! One other time I didn’t know how to take my grief to God was after a late miscarriage. I was surprised at how much the loss affected me and didn’t know how to morn someone I had never seen. There are other times in my life when I have lost dreams, friendships, homes and other things that were dear to me. I had for a long time denied and excused the affect of emotional trauma on my life. Now it is time to face and deal with the hurt.
Peter Scazzero in his book Emotionally Healthy Spirituality lists ways in which we deny loss or excuse it:
Denial – We refuse to acknowledge a painful aspect : “I feel fine. It didn’t bother me a bit that my boss belittled me and fired me. I wasn’t bothered”
Minimizing – We admit something Is wrong but in such a way that it appears less serious than it is : “My son is doing ok with God. He’s just drinking once in a while”. When in fact he is drinking heavily and rarely sleeping at home
Blaming Others – We deny responsibility for our behaviour and project it “out there” blaming it another:” The reason my brother is sick in hospital is because the doctors messed up his medications!”
Blaming Yourself – we inwardly take on the fault: “It’s my fault my mum doesn’t take care of me and drinks all the time. It’s because I’m not worth it”
Rationalising – We offer excuses and justifications to explain what is going on: “Do you know that John has a genetic disposition toward rage that runs in his family? That is why the meetings aren’t helping him”
Intellectualising – We give analysis, theories and generalities to avoid personal awareness and difficult feelings: “My situation is not that bad compared to others in the world. What have I got to cry about?”
Distraction – We change the subject or engage humour to avoid threatening topics: “Why are you so focused on the negative? Look at the great time we had last Christmas.”
Becoming Hostile– We get angry or hostile when reference is made to certain subjects: “Don’t talk about Joe. He’s dead. It’s not going to bring him back.”
Today: Use your journal and list the losses through your life. This loss can be church moves , job loss, divorce, lost dreams, loss of a leader, loss of innocence, loss of a loved one, loss of friendship etc. It is time to let yourself grieve for these.