Monday, December 6, 2010

sadness update

The waves of grief over church come and go. Today I felt new grief after a few days of feeling better. TheRapist says this sort of thing is cyclical. So at least I know it's normal. But I've been crying so painfully I've had to pull the car over, and stop and walk when I get to thinking about it when I'm out running, and lock myself into a bathroom stall while I'm at work for five measured minutes doing the the kind of sobbing where your mouth is just open in the ugliest possible way and your stomach convulses from dry heaving/hacking and tears are running down your face but you can barely make a sound. The grief feels like it's right under my skin over my heart. This is the part where I feel my heart kind of shrinking and getting small and hard. I have this cartoony visual of slushy liquid concrete pouring into my chest to protect my heart from this happening again because this is the most painful thing that has happened to me since my parents disowned me. I want to fight against my heart getting hard though. I have to feel this pain and believe it will be redeemed because if I don't do that, I believe I will have to kill off a vital part of myself and I think I have to hold out this hope. The most painful part could be that my young children are asking why this has happened. This church has been their family as long as we've lived here. So I'm holding this while I'm feeling this crazy pain in my chest cavity, me peritoneum or pleura you could say (I see those words all day at work) and trying to grieve this well and with heart and hope.



Still Breathing said...

Stephy, I wish I could fly to you and give you a big hug. Not to tell you to feel better but to be with you and share your pain.
Make sure you stay close to others who have been hurt by this, particularly ones you don't know very well. This way not only will you be able to share your mutual pain but you will also grow by meeting with other parts of Christ's body.

My only suggestion for your children would be to let them know that we live in a fallen world and that means, even within Christ's Church, shit happens. None of us are perfect and so we can't expect others to be perfect either; we all screw up at times.

Make sure you attend some form of collective worship, either at the church that has hurt you at this time or at another in your area (but I suspect this shouldn't be Mars Hill.) My wife and I just had to go to a different church and although it was OK it told me that this wasn't where I should be.
Finally don't let hope die. Last Sunday we had the first church meeting since the ministers were dismissed and it went well! The Holy Spirit was obviously at work building a spirit of conciliation in all concerned which means the fractured fellowship is healing. In human terms this would have been impossible but with God nothing is impossible. God’s guidance is like a satnav; we go the wrong way and He sets us a new route to get back to where we should be going.

God bless and, as always, prayers from across the pond.


P.S. Don't let the concrete set around your precious heart.

LKT said...

Bollocks is right. I'm so sorry. I second the hug from Still Breathing.

Kara Root said...

Hi Stephy,
Thanks for sharing so openly your process through all of this.
I just wanted to tell you that I know the kind of grief you are talking about. I have felt it too. I didn't think I would ever, ever, stop crying, hurting - physically, that the world would ever feel ok again; I thought my heart would be breaking forever. My therapist (I love her for this) told me not to worry, I wouldn't feel the same in five years. For some reason, as far out as that sounded, it was nice to hear. And it got a lot easier in a lot shorter time than that, but I hung onto her five years as a deadline, an end date, a promise. She was right, anyway.
And what I didn't realize at the time - and what I wanted to share with you - was that it wasn't pointless pain. What I mean by that is, it does something, letting yourself grieve and not cutting it off. I don't know how you were with labor, but as much as it hurt, I remember appreciating that it was LABOR - that the pain was doing something, accomplishing something, it wasn't for nothing, wasn't a tumor or migraine or something you just endure. It made it more bearable to know it was actually work my body was doing to get to something.
I have just recently begun to notice that the darkness I went through and the intense grief 11 years ago did something lasting to me. I always knew it made me "real" in the Velveteen Rabbit sort of way, and took away the simplistic, black and white way of seeing the world, and opened me up to see others in their humanity, and a number of other things that happened through that experience. But the past few weeks, I have noticed other ways in which allowing myself to grieve so completely back then - to lose myself so fully to what I was experiencing, relying on friends and therapist to hold me up, letting my faith, even, be up for grabs, trusting in God only insofar as I didn't have the strength to defend God or my beliefs and instead putting God on the spot to catch me because I had nothing left to give - it healed something in me that I didn't even realize until now.
Without getting bogged into details, as stories unfold in the lives of those I love I am finding I have a capacity (generally) to stay grounded and reach out in love, while my sisters, who did not go into a deep abyss of grief in the same, all-consuming way I did 11 years ago, are still dealing with it all a bit at time, and find themselves struggling afresh with each new development. Everyone's process is different, and I respect what's happening with them. But it has made me realize that the grief I thought at the time was dark and pointless and terrible, turned out, after all, to be like labor: work, transformative, productive. So, as dark and terrible as it was, it was anything but pointless.
Anyway, this was a long way of saying, I have faith now for you, as others once did for me, that the pain you're experiencing now is not pointless. While awful, senseless and terrible, it is not worthless, there is something at work within it. And you don't have to believe that is so, or see any point right now, just stick with it.
(And It wont hurt like this in five years). ;o)

Kara Root said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nikki said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
AnikkiV said...

In the bleak midwinter
Frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron,
Water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow,
Snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter,
Long ago.

Our God, heaven cannot hold him,
Nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away
When he comes to reign;
In the bleak midwinter
A stable place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty,
Jesus Christ.

rachel said...

ugh. condolences. hugs.

sometimes the "there is a season for everything under the sun" still sucks.

xo -r