Monday, August 11, 2014

Understanding Natasha's Grieving

These Two Analogy's From Natasha's Blog Have Really Helped Me Understanding Her Grieving Process. 

The Stump.
Friday, January 11, 2013 
Jerry Sittser writes of another profound image in his book, A Grace Disguised, about a tree stump.  He writes that grief is like a tree stump in your backyard... It used to be a tall, glorious tree, filling out the space with its lofty branches and greenery.  But now it is a stump.  At first, all a person can see is the stump in their backyard... a constant reminder of what used to be there.  But, slowly and surely, they begin to look around, plant some flowers, and other trees that blossom and bloom... The stump becomes an important masterpiece in the midst of a lush and thriving garden...

Right now, on my journey, I feel overcome with grief.  I feel overcome by death... I see the stump in my backyard, the death of all that was, that used to be, all that was lost in the death of my greatest blessing... the grand tree that stood tall and proud, and others came to marvel in its shade... :)  I feel like I am transitioning into some new stage... some unwanted "progression" that points me toward a new life... new seeds... a growing garden.

This may not make any sense, but I am committed to honesty for the sake of others, so here it goes... In this season of transition, I find my head spinning, grappling with past, present, and future, grasping for some certainty, some understanding, some comprehension...  My life is moving forward, but my world is radically different.  Lynn's life was complete, finished, no regrets or unfinished business... while my life is left undone, unresolved, in constant flux, unfinished.  My heart loves Lynn in the present.  The girls and I will hold him closely in our future.  Yet, we will only know him in our past (earthly speaking...). 

As a Christian, I grapple with God's sovereignty over my life, leading me, planning and preparing me,  mixed with the shock and trauma of catastrophic loss.  Circumstances like, for years I prayed for a miracle, that God would lead us into financial freedom, I got down on my knees and begged God to make a way for us to be in His will and still be debt free... Now I am in a more stable financial position than we ever were before...  My prayers were answered?  There was a dream, not yet shared, that Lynn had as a child... We fought off the beasts that came at us from the forest, side by side, until Lynn stood back and I went on alone, conquering the final beast by myself...  

When my head is spinning with all of these details, I find myself zeroing in on the stump in my backyard.  It doesn't make any sense.  I want to understand it.  Why is there a stump in my backyard in place of my tree?  What was the sense in cutting it down?  

God is a great Gardener... He is calling me to move, just a step, beyond the stump. To look around my backyard and (at least be willing) to plant some seeds.  I see the Holy Spirit, lightly dancing/working around my yard, (like the character depicted in The Shack, by William P. Young). No matter what, despite everything, in all circumstances, God gives life to everything.

The stump is an essential part of my story.  I wish I could understand it, but I can't.  Knowing that God can use it, can bring good out of it, doesn't help.  It offers purpose, but does not ease the pain of catastrophic loss.  The stump will always be there, but my garden will grow... Someday my yard will be lush and green and thriving.  The stump will sit, perfectly accentuated by the surrounding artistry, masterfully designed by my great Savior and King...

Friday, November 23, 2012

Amanda sits in her armchair, feeling the weight of her arms at rest on the coarse fabric.  In her mind, she recalls the familiarity of this chair, the greenish hue of its faded corduroy, the arc of the wooden frame, and the sun light coming in from the window across the room, caressing its visitor with glittering warmth...

Only days ago, Amanda was in a devastating accident that took away her sight.  Having been knocked unconscious during the crash, she awoke to an unfamiliar world of darkness.  She experienced the frightening sensation of all that she had known laying behind a sheet of blackness, beyond a vast expanse of mystery and uncertain emptiness.

Weeks ago, she would have run through this house at lightening speed, maneuvering every corner, leaping up and down the stairs, so familiar with this place she calls home.  But now... without sight, it is a foreign land.  Familiarity lies distant, almost unreachable, behind the thick veil of darkness.  So she sits...

Slowly but surely, the familiarity begins to return.  She learns to feel, hear, touch, and experience the armchair.  She shifts her weight in the seat and traces her fingers along the armrests.  She feels her long legs, comfortable with the height of the chair and the grounding of her feet planted firmly on the floor, offering a sense of balance and security.

So far, living within her new world is comfortable, doable... as long as she remains here, on the chair...  But soon, she will stand up, and face again the trembling fear and draining challenge of maneuvering the room, this room.  She will stand up, feel with her hands, listen with her ears, will herself to remember the frame of her surroundings.  She will go around and around and around again, until this room becomes newly familiar, seen again through the eyes of the blind.  

Amanda will conquer the unusual familiarity of every room in her house.  She will build a new normal... a new way of seeing and feeling and moving throughout her world.  But the outside world... what about that?  With the outside world comes unexpected noises, busy streets, the hustle and bustle of daily lives.  How does she learn to maneuver blindly in a world of sight?  How does she exist socially in a world of body language, sudden movements, too many people talking at once?

One day at a time, Amanda climbs her mountain.  She learns new ways of coping as a blind person in a seeing world.  She finds new ways to congregate and fellowship with others.  But it is painstakingly slow.

Imagine if Amanda went from the armchair to the center of a busy mall?  Imagine if she was suddenly thrown into a crowd and expected to find her way?  Imagine the bombardments of smells, sounds, bumps and movements from busy passersby?

Amanda's journey from terrifying darkness to a new way of seeing takes years of hard work, patience, and loving support.

I did not lose my sight.  I lost my husband.  I do not wish to minimize the incredible trauma of blindness!  But wonder if the dark void that was once sight can be used metaphorically (however inadequate it may be) to express the ongoing trauma after the loss of a spouse, learning to live under the shadow of a painful and overwhelming void...  It seems so incomprehensible to a world of social culture and couple oriented activities... 

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