Friday, May 28, 2010

Friday's Faith - Violent Death - Is Restorative Retelling Really Possible?

Friday's Faith

Violent Death...

Is Restorative Retelling Really Possible?

(Or is this phrase an Oxymoron?)

We have been talking on Thursday's Therapy posts about Dr. Edward K. Rynearson's description of the healing nature of "Restorative Retelling of Violent Death." Is this phenomenon really true? Yes, the psychiatrist, Dr. Rynearson has years and years of experience in helping people develop their own "restorative" tales to tell about their loved ones' violent death. Yes, he says, in essence,

To have healing, you must combine

Naming + Personal Meaning + Restoration

in an intimate link for terror and violent dying to move from a Nameless entity that disintegrates and destroys us into a Named part of a much bigger story that encompasses our child's death while embracing our child's life that continues on with a vitality that is life-giving and life-producing in us.

Naming + Personal Meaning + Restoration is the formula that must be intimately linked for us to keep Terror and Violent Dying from remaining Nameless and therefore Disintegrating...


Get real.

I ask myself,

"How can a 'Re-telling' of my baby's Violent Death make a hill-of-beans of Difference whatsoever to the ultimate outcome of her Decimation and Death, and subsequently therefore of my Decimation as well?"

How would retelling such a horrific story make any kind of difference for me?

Sounds like magical thinking to me...

"Kiss the boo boo, and make it go away."

But this 'boo-boo' is way too big, and too violent, and too deadly to "go away."

So is Dr. Rynearson's theory merely "magical thinking"?



Maybe not...


And yet, look at our Lord's words. His words are never empty.

Jesus Himself is referred to as THE Word.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.

Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made. In Him was life, and that life was the light of men, The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.

~John 1:1-2

His word may be baffling. His word may be mind-boggling. His word often seems unrealistic and undoable. Regardless, somehow His words are TRUTH for they represent HIM, who is TRUTH, who is LIFE.

So in John 14, verse one, what did Jesus mean when He said, "Let not your hearts be troubled," when HE, the SON OF GOD was telling His followers that He was about to be killed on a cross?

"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in Me. In My Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with Me that you also may be where I am."

~John 14:1-3

"Let not your hearts be troubled"?

How is THAT doable? And yet, He spells it out for His followers.

  • Keep Your Eye On The Bigger Picture.
  • Keep Your Eye On My Purposes.
  • Keep Your Eye On What I Am Doing For You.
  • Keep Your Eye On What My Death Accomplishes For You...
  • Keep Your Eye On What My Death Does For All Eternity.
  • Keep Your Eye On My Promise To You.
  • Remember, I Go...To Prepare A Place For You, So That You May Be Where I Am.

In this way, even Jesus Himself is urging us to have transcendent thinking, to step out of the current moment, as horrific as it is, to enter a bigger picture that God Himself has created that literally ends in "happily ever-after," yet it is NOT a fairy-tale, and it is NOT magical thinking. This story is What The Living God Says He Is Doing In Our Lives that

  • Earthly Eyes Cannot "See," but that
  • We Must "See"
    • With The Heart,
    • With The Soul,
    • With The Spirit,
      • NOT With The Eyes,
      • NOT WithThe Human Senses,
      • NOT With The Finite Brain.

Perhaps this is why "discipleship" is a life-long process, teaching and training us continually

  • to think with the eyes of Faith,
  • to come to Him with the heart of Trust,
  • to submit to HIS ways with our wills bent toward Obedience, even if the obedience is "unto death."

And that is where the death of my child comes in, for her physical death sure seems like my "death," and as God Himself through His word communicates,

Jesus, before He was about to killed on a cross by his enemies, spoke the following words to His disciples who He knew could get so steeped in their grief and loss that they would lose sight of the much bigger picture:

So, evidently our Lord is saying,

There IS a way that you, with My help, can step outside of your horrific loss and step into My story for your child and for you.

And so, I will attempt my first draft at my own version of "Violent Death Retelling."

Please stay with me. Remember this story is not magical thinking, but it is viewing my baby through the eyes of faith with God's help...


My Restorative Retelling of Merry Katherine's Violent Death

  • My baby's precious origins in her Father's mind came before she was even born.
  • Her birth was miraculous given the violent occurrences in her parents' lives at the time.*
  • Her beautiful life touched so many lives, so many hearts, with her accepting, non-judgmental attitude.
  • Her horrific violent death in this world happened, killing her and decimating us.
  • Her marvelous afterlife is ongoing in God's sin-absent, Love-filled world of eternity where
  • We will see her again at our death or at God's rapture.

All these parts of her life signal that her death is only one part of God's bigger story for her and for His Kingdom.
Just as our Lord's death on the cross was only one part, horrific though it was, of God's overarching story for His life, I have to remember Merry Katherine's death is only one piece of the much greater story.
God's Eternal story brings complete glory to Himself and complete loving fulfillment to each child of His.

How can we lock in on any one part (like our tremendous grief and loss) when the Whole is so much greater than the sum of its parts. And

  • Death IS ONLY one part. NOT the end.
  • Ultimately, it is NOT a "tragic" ending for my baby because, according to my Lord who does not lie, she IS alive, ALIVE and WELL with her Heavenly Abba-Daddy.
  • She is better than "well." She is made new, her spirit completed, unshackled from each and every sin that once held her down.
  • She is held in Love's arms every night.
  • She is connected with her mommy's spirit.
  • And she is still a part of the story as she smiles at me and urges me on to tell her story in a way that will continue to touch and heal even as she so sweetly touched and healed lives while she was here.
  • According to Scripture, she is a part of that great "cloud of witnesses" urging us on to complete the promises they did not receive here on this earth, but their promises will be fulfilled in partnership with us; we get to be a part of their being made perfect!

These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entanges, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.

~Hebrews 11:39-40,12:1

  • We will be rejoined in Heaven.
  • Should I be taken up in the rapture before death, who will be there in the air beside her Savior to meet me? My precious one, my baby, smiling even as she smiles at me now in spirit.
  • Yet should I die, who will be waiting for me "beyond the Jordan River, drawing pictures in the sand," but my precious angel baby, "running through the shallow waters, reaching for my hand"?


The holocaust survivors got it.

Viktor Frankl got it.

We can survive the horrors of this life only as we hold to to our true meaning, as we remember we are a part of God's much bigger Story.

Not a make-believe story, but a story more real than the air that we breathe, more real than the sun-moon-and-stars that shine, for even these heavenly lights will burn out one day when they are no longer needed as the Glory of our God will be all the Light we need. And there will never be night again. Neither will there be any more Night of the Soul, for

  • Our Sins will be washed clean and removed from us,
  • Death will be destroyed,
  • The Enemy will be cast into eternal hellfire, and
  • All our tears will be wiped away by the same Beloved who comforts us even now in our grief.
  • There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain.

Now the dwelling of God is with men, and He will live with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things is passed away.

~Revelation 21:3-4

And we will be rejoined with our loved ones, never to be separated again. Yes, we are a part of a much larger story. And despite our grief now, we are taught to look beyond the pain, the horrors, the nightmares of losing our children.

Love conquers all. Love saves. Love delivers. Love resurrects. And Love wins.

When all is said and done, Love wins.

Love restores.

And that becomes our restoration story that encompasses our child's violent death, but also embraces her life, a precious life lived with us, a life that is ongoing now, a life that will never end, and with whom our lives some day will be joined together again, never to be separated from one another ever again!

May God be praised. Only He is the One who makes our Restoration Story possible, Only He could accomplish a story for us that is redemptive, restorative, and real, but also a story that is at the same time, literally larger than life!

*More on this at a later date!


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