The Grief is Coming from Inside the House

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My mind has turned grief into a deranged adversary. Everywhere I go, there it is, threatening to destroy me. It started like any other thriller movie – with an unexpected tragedy. My tragedy doesn’t involve the accidental death of a person, or the intentional torture of an innocent soul, but the slow death of a dream. And again, like any good protagonist in a thriller, I have run as far as I can from the scene of the tragedy, in the hopes of escaping the pain, blame, or both. But just as Michael Meyers tracked down his sister, Laurie, after 15 years and her adoption into a new family, my grief finds me no matter how far I go.

Grief has caught me by surprise several times and it is always at the most inconvenient times. Like a teenage girl trapped in a tanning booth, I am trapped inside my thoughts and can’t get out.

Just this past weekend I was at a wedding, and out of nowhere I was blindsided with the loss that comes with infertility. A friend had declined alcohol. That was it. No baby talk, I don’t even know if she is pregnant or not. But the thought of another couple getting pregnant before me and Dean has the ability to derail me. But of course I couldn’t surrender to grief at a wedding, so I ran. I had been running for so many years, each subsequent interaction with grief became more frightening than the last, that I had become antsy with anticipation and fear. I was exhausted.

I decided to take refuge inside the walls of my mind.  The walls were strong and solid so nothing could get in and destroy me. And like a rain soaked teenage girl running from a crazy maniacal killer with a chainsaw, it’s after I’ve locked myself in, that I suddenly realized the killer was inside with me!  Life inside the walls has become a game of tag with grief. Grief is “it” and I am constantly running from it. The fear of being destroyed is my motivation to keep going. Not fear of death, death seems restful. The fear of being destroyed. Hacked to pieces by the sharp butcher knife of grief.

I don’t want to run anymore. I am so tired of running from all these emotions. But if I stop running I have to turn around and face my fear. I’ve been running for so long, I don’t know how to turn around. I don’t know how to face it.

Yesterday morning I was outside during the early hours. I was praying my rosary and looking at the stars. I noticed that I could not find the moon. I knew it must be out there somewhere, but for the life of me I could not find it. I gazed at the stars instead and I started to grow weary. I wanted to pray with my eyes closed, but I didn’t want to miss out on the beautiful starry sky. I wouldn’t have many mornings left before I would have to fight the cold for some star gazing. As I continued to pray I became aware of a cloud on the horizon, it slowly grew and started to overtake the beautiful clear night. I watched the cloud and imagined I could push it back toward the horizon. I was fighting the cloud so I could continue looking at the beautiful sky. But I was so tired, I just wanted to close my eyes. But I didn’t want to miss anything. Despite my wishful attempts to fight off the cloud with “the force”, the cloud overtook the sky. There was something beautiful and peaceful about the cloud. I could close my eyes and pray. I no longer had a fear that I was missing out on something, because there was nothing but gray cloud to see. I finished praying my rosary with my eyes closed and when I opened them again the gray cloud was high overhead. The horizon was clear and there, brightly shining, was the moon. It was a beautiful sight. A sight I would not have seen if I was in control of the cloud. A sight that I would have been too exhausted to cherish if I had kept my eyes open because I was too scared to miss something.

My grief has become this way. I have let the fear of missing out on joy blind me from the rest and release of grief. I have put so much energy into running away from grief, that I don’t fully appreciate the good things. When life is good I am constantly looking over my shoulder to make sure grief isn’t sneaking up on me. 

How do I let my grief roll in like the cloud so after a time I can experience something breathtaking again? If I don’t turn around and face my fear I will continue to live my life like an anxiety driven thriller.

I don’t have an answer, otherwise I wouldn’t be in this situation. But I’m open to learning. Please pray for me as I try to find the courage to approach my fear.

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One thought on “The Grief is Coming from Inside the House

  1. Trevor

    Fear is the great battle we all face. Every human is afraid. Terrified. This sense is universal and can be found across the globe in art, literary works, and human experience. It is thus not a matter of how you fend off fear, but as you have said, how do you overcome fear? How does one be brave in the face of fear? Courageous? How do we not let fear dictate our lives?

    1st, fear and courage are linked very closely to trust. Or lack of trust. Fear of the unknown, the darkness, what is behind the curtain, and what horrible thing may happen to me. Theses fears pretend that there is no God. Not just that, they imagine that God is against you, or that God is weak, or that God doesn’t care, or is not on your side. Romans 8 address this. Allow me to quote the entire chapter 🙂

    “15 So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” 16 For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. 17 And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.

    18 Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later. 19 For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are. 20 Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, 21 the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay. 22 For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us. 24 We were given this hope when we were saved. (If we already have something, we don’t need to hope for it. 25 But if we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently.)

    26 And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. 27 And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will. 28 And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. 29 For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And having chosen them, he called them to come to him. And having called them, he gave them right standing with himself. And having given them right standing, he gave them his glory.

    31 What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? 32 Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? 33 Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. 34 Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.

    35 Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? 36 (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”) 37 No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.

    38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

    It is a game changer when we realize that God’s Spirit, the Holy Spirit is inside of us and that no one or no thing can take that love away. This is a solid rock foundation we can hold onto when we go “into battle.”

    Or allow David, one who knows fear personally as he was chased and surrounded many times by the evil men, to demonstrate his way of talking about his fear. This is Psaom 27.

    “The Lord is my light and my salvation—
    so why should I be afraid?
    The Lord is my fortress, protecting me from danger,
    so why should I tremble?
    2 When evil people come to devour me,
    when my enemies and foes attack me,
    they will stumble and fall.
    3 Though a mighty army surrounds me,
    my heart will not be afraid.
    Even if I am attacked,
    I will remain confident.
    4 The one thing I ask of the Lord—
    the thing I seek most—
    is to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,
    delighting in the Lord’s perfections
    and meditating in his Temple.
    5 For he will conceal me there when troubles come;
    he will hide me in his sanctuary.
    He will place me out of reach on a high rock.
    6 Then I will hold my head high
    above my enemies who surround me.
    At his sanctuary I will offer sacrifices with shouts of joy,
    singing and praising the Lord with music.
    7 Hear me as I pray, O Lord.
    Be merciful and answer me!
    8 My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.”
    And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming.”
    9 Do not turn your back on me.
    Do not reject your servant in anger.
    You have always been my helper.
    Don’t leave me now; don’t abandon me,
    O God of my salvation!
    10 Even if my father and mother abandon me,
    the Lord will hold me close.
    11 Teach me how to live, O Lord.
    Lead me along the right path,
    for my enemies are waiting for me.
    12 Do not let me fall into their hands.
    For they accuse me of things I’ve never done;
    with every breath they threaten me with violence.
    13 Yet I am confident I will see the Lord’s goodness
    while I am here in the land of the living.
    14 Wait patiently for the Lord.
    Be brave and courageous.
    Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.”

    Or allow me to quote the story of Joshua. A leader in the wake of such tragedy and confusion after Moses’ death. Joshua 1.

    1 After the death of Moses the Lord’s servant, the Lord spoke to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ assistant. He said, 2 “Moses my servant is dead. Therefore, the time has come for you to lead these people, the Israelites, across the Jordan River into the land I am giving them. 3 I promise you what I promised Moses: ‘Wherever you set foot, you will be on land I have given you— 4 from the Negev wilderness in the south to the Lebanon mountains in the north, from the Euphrates River in the east to the Mediterranean Sea in the west, including all the land of the Hittites.’ 5 No one will be able to stand against you as long as you live. For I will be with you as I was with Moses. I will not fail you or abandon you.

    6 “Be strong and courageous, for you are the one who will lead these people to possess all the land I swore to their ancestors I would give them. 7 Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do. 8 Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. 9 This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

    10 Joshua then commanded the officers of Israel, 11 “Go through the camp and tell the people to get their provisions ready. In three days you will cross the Jordan River and take possession of the land the Lord your God is giving you.”

    12 Then Joshua called together the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh. He told them, 13 “Remember what Moses, the servant of the Lord, commanded you: ‘The Lord your God is giving you a place of rest. He has given you this land.’ 14 Your wives, children, and livestock may remain here in the land Moses assigned to you on the east side of the Jordan River. But your strong warriors, fully armed, must lead the other tribes across the Jordan to help them conquer their territory. Stay with them 15 until the Lord gives them rest, as he has given you rest, and until they, too, possess the land the Lord your God is giving them. Only then may you return and settle here on the east side of the Jordan River in the land that Moses, the servant of the Lord, assigned to you.”

    16 They answered Joshua, “We will do whatever you command us, and we will go wherever you send us. 17 We will obey you just as we obeyed Moses. And may the Lord your God be with you as he was with Moses. 18 Anyone who rebels against your orders and does not obey your words and everything you command will be put to death. So be strong and courageous!”

    God promises to be with Joshua. to Guide him and protect him. Be strong and courageous! Verse 9 is a memorable one to hold close in times of uncertainty: 9 This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

    Or hear the voice of Paul in 2nd Tim 1:7: “7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.”

    Or David again in Psalm 23, “Ye though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil…..why???? does he fear no evil???? “because You (God) are with me.”

    If the face of fear, we must not focus on what it is around us, but the Who is inside of us. Jesus is present! He knows suffering. He is alive! He abides inside of you! Nothing can take that away! The overwhelming God who loves you so much that he literally died for you. He is inside of you, beside you, over you, under you, going before you and walking behind you. We acknowledge the creator in our midst. Then our fear becomes worship. We turn our eyes from ourselves and the things we cannot know or understand, and we rest them in the perfect love of Christ (Perfect love casts out fear). Our fear and pain becomes praise! Have you not heard the stories of saints who were worshiping in the midst of being stoned?

    Humbly yours.

    Trevor

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