Well, there they are…those glorious five stages of grief:
denial >> anger >> bargaining >> depression >> acceptance
All being played out in rapid succession…overlapping…loopingbackandforth…
The past week and a half has involved a lot of discovery for me, and much of that discovery has been painful. I’ve walked into some inyourface realizations…while other realizations have begun to dawn on me more gradually…but, either way, ignorance was a hell of a lot more enjoyable than what appears to be the truth.
I guess that’s why I lived in that denial range for such a long time. Much like I’ve done in the past, I deeply believed that patient love and faithful service would win a heart that didn’t want to be won. As the shape of reality showed itself, I would shake my head and reaffirm my confidence that I WAS THE MAN TO CHANGE IT!
But I wasn’t that man.
And I jumped right to depression when I saw that fact without veil. If we lighten the term a bit and call it “sadness”, it’s the space I’m in most of the time now. The recognition of hopes that will stay deferred and plans that will never be brought to fruition…it drains a great deal of spring from my step and flattens the lines of my smile.
The anger has just been salted in there along the way, bubbling up every couple of hours as feelings of how little I must have meant creep in…along with thoughts of how eagerly my gifts and acts of service and words of affirmation and quality time and physical touches were received, and then – it seems – cast away. It sucks to feel used and unappreciated. It sucks to feel like more than a year of adoration was so easy to turn away from. (In all fairness, this may not be the complete case…but it feels that way.)
So…Anger. Frustration. Irritation. Gritted teeth and boiling blood and hemorrhaging heart. I’m trying hard to rise about it, but it’s mostly vain effort right now.
There have been filaments of bargaining…IF this happens, I’ll try again…IF that is evident, I will hang in there… But, ultimately, bargains require two parties and – when no one else wants to try – there isn’t much point.
I haven’t found my way to acceptance yet. That’s gonna take some time. I’m doing a little better with it today than I did yesterday…and far, far better than I did last week… I am determined to not emote constantly as I move through my day (like I did most of last week…ugh). But, it’s still a process and I’m pretty sure I’ll be bouncing back and forth through this range of emotions for some time.
So, instead of trying to trust my own navigational skills, I have to look to One Greater. This morning, I read the words of Psalm 61:
Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer; from the end of the earth I call to you when my heart is faint.
Lead me to the rock that is higher than I, for You have been my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy*.
Let me dwell in Your tent forever! Let me take refuge under the shelter of Your wings!
I’ve been hurt before. I have healed before. And the Source of that healing was Jesus. He hasn’t changed, so I know I will be okay. It just takes time and patience and a willingness to trust that He knows infinitely more than I do about what I truly need.
So…here I am…home in the range of grief stages…looking forward to a better future.
(*One quick note…please, please understand that I’m not seeing that word “enemy” in this passage as representing the person I’ve been writing about. She is so not my enemy. She is a woman who loves the Lord and is doing the best she can. We are just in different places with different heart economies.)