Friday, June 22, 2007

Too Big To Put Behind

Rachel Naomi Remen

Disappointment and loss are a part of every life. Many times we can put them behind us and get on with the rest of our lives. But not everything is amenable to this approach. Some things are too big or too deep to do this, and we will have to leave important parts of ourselves behind if we treat them in this way. These are the places where wisdom begins to grow in us. It begins with suffering that we do not avoid or rationalize or put behind us. It starts with the realization that our loss, whatever it is, has become a part of us and has altered our lives so profoundly that we cannot go back to the way it was before.
The thing about the many strategies we use to shelter ourselves from feeling loss is that none of them leads to healing. Although denial, rationalization, substitution, avoidance, and the like may numb the pain of loss, every one of them hurts us in some far more fundamental ways. None is respectful toward life or toward process. None acknowledges our capacity for finding meaning or wisdom.
Source: Rachel Naomi Remen, MD. "My Grandfather’s Blessings"

1 comment:

Eric said...

That's probably what is the most unfair thing about grief and loss - the realization that you are changed forever - you WILL have those consequences in your life - and you have no control over that. This can't really ever be what they were no matter how much you may want it. I think that's what often fuels denial and a refusal to accept those changes. And you can certainly see why!
But in the end, I think that's all grief really is - the process by which we come to accept and embrace what has happened. That acceptance comes in ebbs and flows over time - which is why sometimes we regress and seem to go back to the beginning of the process. Maybe we do - but we are able to move more quickly forward and even onto more acceptance with each time.
It takes as long as it takes too. Personally, I have seen God in this process in a much more personal way than ever before. His are the arms and hands that hold me together when I feel like falling apart. His Spirit calmly, quietly, and yet firmly, keeps me from thinking (or wallowing) and doing things that aren't too wise or helpful. It really is a lot like the Footprints Poem! Who knew!