Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Grieving Loss and Transition...Becoming Green.

How not to lose hope.)





Those words resonate with all of us right now...

...and, I'm finding addressing the banality of it is meaningful.

1. It helps to know we aren't alone in feeling SAD about having the rug of expectation & common-everyday-occurrences pulled out from under our feet.

2. It does make a difference to know others have survived and I will, too.

3. It's a comfort to know our God stays the same amidst all changing circumstances. 

I've read a lot of metaphors trying to explain what it feels like for missionaries who transition from culture to culture; for the loss that comes with each new season of change; and, how to express the grief.

There's one I appreciate more than others, which I'll share in a moment.

But, right now, what we are experiencing in this new COVID-19-world will have all the "feels" attached that missionaries "feel" in the midst of their many transitions (find a missionary and ask, if you want some wisdom or just comforting words of hope...).

I'm reading, listening, and picking up on the fact that life will look very different post-COVID-19.

We may NEVER go back to "normal," as we know it.

It will have a reminiscence of life post-September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

A lot of things changed in how we do life today, and we learned to adapt to them, because we understood the need to never be caught off guard again...

But, this new enemy?

We have yet to see how this unseen, dangerous enemy will affect us in the long-run.

So, we must learn from others, some of the how-to's for adaptation.

Thus far, in two posts, I've pointed out my beginnings of grieving amidst loss and transition:
1) List the losses. It's so important to become aware of EVERYTHING that we miss...from the tangible to the intangible.

2) Lament the losses. Be a David. Be a Jeremiah. Be a number of Biblical men and women who write out their prayers, their songs, and paint pictures with words describing vividly how they feel... This is undoubtedly the most important part of the process: MOURN! MOURN WELL! It takes a great deal of FAITH to mourn well, because it says we are TRUSTING the Lord that He knows how to hold our hearts in the process of change.


Illustrating Life in Transition (using missionary-experiences):

Missionary Me: I grow up in a yellow country. I learn yellow language, yellow customs, yellow traditions, yellow holidays, and experience yellow eating habits, and yellow unspoken rules about how to do life well...

(this is all of us pre-CV-19)

Missionary Me: As an adult, well ingrained in my yellow ways, the Lord stoops down into the midst of my yellowness, and asks me to go to a blue country. Things look a lot different in this blue land: blue languages, blue customs, blue traditions, blue holidays, blue eating habits, blue ways of shopping, blue rules (unspoken, of course) about how to do life well...

I am yellow...and, I can never be blue, but I can learn to morph a bit...to fit in and adjust a little bit better, and I start to pick up some of those blue ways of doing life.

What happens when yellow and blue mix?

Green, of course!

I become green.

(this will be us as we learn to do life with new changes and ways of doing things)

Those who are too comfortable with their yellowness will fear "green."

But, green is awfully pretty.  I only have to look outside my window at my gorgeous green lawn to know how pretty it is...

The thing is that becoming green takes time....

Patience is a requirement.

Practicing self-care is a requirement (not selfish-care: not isolation, not overindulgence, over-working, or self-medication; but, going for walks outside, getting regular hours of sleep, eating healthy, reaching out to others in compassion...)


The 3rd GUIDELINE for healthy GRIEVING:

Becoming green means you'll learn some very new ways of doing things...

Your new life will look DIFFERENT, but different isn't bad....it's just DIFFERENT.

Take "different" on as a challenge for your soul.

Learn what you can about GREEN...

Be observant...what are "green people doing?" ....how are they "doing things now?" ....what can I contribute to the process of green-ness?

Step back.

See where you can use your giftedness.

Start looking for ways you can be helpful in this new green way.

(remember in Scripture forget doesn't mean "forget"...it means, do not let the thoughts of the past live consistently in your head; create new paths of thinking...)

Acknowledge that life may never be yellow, or blue again, but there will be a lot of bright new crayons added to the box.

The picture of this new way of life will be colored vastly different from how it looked, but the tapestry created is AWE-MAZING.

Look for the new colors... and, be GRATEFUL!

Listen for the new language...and, learn to love the sounds, and the rhythms, the cadence and the songs...

Learn about the newness and find joy in the midst of becoming green.

Learn to love the new...and be grateful...

AFTER ALL...Gratitude is one of the pathways to joy!

P.S.  The enemy of our souls would love for us to stay in mourning...but, get up, wash off the ash, change out of sack-cloth, and go to "school" in your new green world. Don't let him dance over you in delight as he takes you captive in grief! 

(Are you hearing what I'm saying? I'm not saying to just go back to stuffing the grief, but amidst the grief, and in the process, keep looking, keep listening, keep learning...and eventually, you will find yourself a very beautiful shade of GREEN!)

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