Letting Ourselves Feel the Feelings.

Feeling the Loss
Multi-millions of people all over the world are feeling a sense of loss. Loss of health, loved ones, security, jobs, income, dreams, freedom to travel, to associate with others, and numerous other things important to us. They are gone, and a loss of any kind results in grief. Feeling sad is reasonable and we need to allow ourselves to feel this sadness deeply. Our emotional health depends on taking time to grieve a loss.

Jo and I Have Felt This Way Before
Jo and I went through a period of loss and deep sadness when we left Brazil permanently after nearly a quarter of a century of life and work there. We left behind our house, our friends, our coworkers, and the Canela people. We not only lost these, but we lost our work and identity as Bible translators. That part of our life was over. We grieved and hoped the feeling of loss would someday lessen. It did, although it never entirely went away. Some significant losses are like losing a leg; we might get used to it but will always miss it.

Of course, our feelings weren’t all sad. We had a deep inner joy, knowing that our dream had become a reality. The Canelas now had God’s Word in their own language, finally joining billions of other people who have had a Bible in their mother tongue for many generations.

Six Expressions of Grief
Years later, we learned that grief, and how we deal with it, manifests itself in various ways. We and others around us deal with the emotions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in multiple ways.

One attitude is Denial, “This virus won’t affect us.”
Another is Anger, “Stop telling me to stay home and not visit my friends.”
Then there is Bargaining, “Okay, I’ll keep two-metres away from everyone for a month, and then go back to normal.”
Eventually, Grieving deeply at our long-term loss, we ask, “Will we ever get back to normal?”
Near the end-stage is Acceptance, “This is for real. Okay, let’s figure out how we can live from here on.”

While we are going through these aspects of Grieving, we need to focus our thoughts on positive things in our lives; things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or worthy of praise  (Phil. 4:8) Remember also that Jesus promised never to leave us and that he invites us to cast our cares on him.

Hopefully, the final result will show Meaning. Some of us are discovering new ways of connecting via our phones, video chats, and computer. Some people are finding the joy of walking, alone or with our family. Some businesses realize that they can operate remotely, without an office. Teachers are learning ways to lead students into learning through technology instead of in the classroom.

Welcoming Grief
The important thing for all of us to realize is that we must not get stuck in those early stages of Grief. We need to treat Grief as a temporary guest welcoming him into our lives, not slamming the door in his face. We must let ourselves feel our emotions deeply, admit to ourselves how we feel, even share them with others and think of the positive things in our lives. Only then will we move from Grieving into Accepting and finding Meaning.

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3 thoughts on “Letting Ourselves Feel the Feelings.

    • Yes, Richard, our girls are doing well, although Cheryl still suffers from fibro-mayalgia.
      Jack and Jo

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