As a spiritual director, I have the sacred opportunity to listen to people as they share what is on their hearts.
The last two people I’ve directed have had a major change of employment which resulted in collateral damage.
The damage came in the loss of a community in which they served, loss of trust in leadership, and a loss of joy. It was a lot!
But they didn’t know what the loss meant. They couldn’t see it. They only saw the need to get over it and move on from their heavy hearts and feelings of hurt and sadness.
I pointed out to them that they were going through grief. You could almost see the light bulb go off over their head. The thought of grief never occurred to them.
Our Western Culture Doesn’t Talk Much About Grief
When we hear the word grief, it’s usually associated with the death of a loved one.
Our western culture doesn’t talk about grief or death. Like the two people I spoke with, they have adopted our culture’s mantra to “just get over it,” whatever “it” is.
The amount of time companies give for bereavement in the death of a loved one is 3-5 days off. The absurdity of that is that it can take months, years, or decades for someone to get over the death of a loved one (sometimes never) depending on how significant a factor they played in their life.
Grieving Comes In Many Surprising Forms
But there are many losses that we suffer in our lives where we grieve:
- Children going off to college (there is a paradox of joy and sadness)
- Caring for aging parents (there is a loss of our own independence and accepting that they aren’t going to live forever – uh, can you say denial? Even the death of Queen Elizabeth at 96 took Brits by surprise)
- A health diagnosis of your own or a loved one when life drastically changes
- A job change or move
- The state of our economy with rising prices and uncertainty – grieving the loss of what used to be
- The loss of a loved one, pet, or friendship
If you look up the stages of grief, there are several listed. But the main ones are shock, denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.
I realized during the COVID lockdowns that what we were going through was grief. We suffered so many losses at once! Two and a half years later, have we gotten over its effects?
Allow Yourself to Go Through Your Feelings of Grief
For decades, I never allowed myself to feel my feelings. I stuffed them down. But as someone told me, if you don’t deal with your feelings, they will deal with you.
Building up walls of self-protection and stuffing down feelings will not only make you sick but will block joy.
If you are feeling sad, hurt, angry, or have a heavy heart, you might be grieving a loss.
To transform that pain, you must feel it and go through it. Only then can you come through the other side where peace and joy are waiting.
Journaling Is a Beautiful Way to Go Through the Grieving Process
A beautiful and effective way to transform that pain is through journaling. Through the decades, journaling has been a transformative practice for me. That’s why I’m so passionate about teaching this practice to others.
I teach my journal class live throughout the year. There’s also a pre-recorded option of the class. Both offer two bonus live class reunions to meet and connect with others on their journaling journey.
If you feel God nudging you to learn more about this spiritual practice and to implement it, here’s the link to the live journal class (if the dates have passed, contact me for upcoming dates). Here’s the link to the on-demand recorded class.
If you find yourself just wanting to get over it, whatever it is, and if you tell yourself to let it go, realize that you are probably grieving some kind of loss.
Know that God is with you through your sadness. Psalm 34:18 says: The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
Give yourself lots of grace.
Recognize that you may be grieving. It’s only then that you can go through your grief in order to let go of the hurt and sadness.
I have a free meditation and prayer called Letting Go that may help your through this process.