Thursday, October 20, 2011

Thursday's Therapy - You Must Go Down Before You Can Go Up

Thursday's Therapy

You Must Go Down Before You Can Go Up!

In working with a client this week, I became aware again of this new dimension into which you and I have been called to live. This client, too, has experienced great loss, loss of a child, loss of a step-child, loss of a spouse, and in this current economy, a now greatly diminished form of his business. He was saying that it is hard to remain positive with potential clients because he is ever aware of his depressing circumstances when he is attempting to make the sale of how wonderful his business and his services can be for this potential client. I am sure this is a common theme for many of us. I know I have struggled off and on for five years with a similar perspective. But I was struck with the current dissonance of my life and his...

I go down into Death's Valley everyday, facing my great loss, feeling it, grieving through it, and receiving comfort anew.

I became aware that my client was, in a sense, refusing to "go down" into this depressing Valley. I pointed out to him that THIS is where the cleansing comes!

BECAUSE I am willing to ever face my loss, I can then have respites from it in which I feel quite WHOLE, quite ALIVE, quite OPTIMISTIC, quite FUN even; it is like, for awhile, the slate is wiped clean, and I can "see" a perspective that is "far and wide" and freeing! He became encouraged and decided to go by the gravesite of his family he just loss and cry his eyes out! It's like the old saying,

In order to heal, you have to feel...

It occurs to me how outrageous it is for these superficial, simple-minded folk (even family, friends, and church people) who often accost us grievers, to dictate that we need to "get over it" when the way to navigate through this pathway onto which we have been called is quite opposite to their dictate:

We have to FACE our hell in order to MOVE BEYOND it, even if our moving beyond it is for just moments at a time.

If we do not face our hell, it is ever sitting in our hearts anyway, just waiting to jump out and catch us off guard!



And guess what, there is an added component to this new dimension into which we have been thrown. We begin to see what we HAVE, while we notice others are spending their lives away trying to get what they DON'T HAVE with mindless abandon, never content, never happy, but ever grasping for the next rung to their "upwardly-mobile" life that is really not leading them "UPWARD" at all.

Yet, we child-loss grievers are all experiencing what Christ essentially said,

"For the wheat to reproduce new life, first it must die."

With our child's death, we are all "dying" every day.

In our dying, we are learning what is important and what is NOT, and therefore learning to drop the "what is NOT" so that we can focus on the important.

We have learned that everyday we must "GO DOWN" into our deep grief before we can "GO UP" into feeling comfort and relief.

Tommy and I were reading this week about the renowned author, Philip Yancey, one of our favorite authors who examines Christianity from a fresh and candid view. (Yancey wrote such wonderful books as Where is God When it Hurts, Disappointment with God, Pain: The Gift Nobody Wants, Prayer: Does It Make Any Difference, and What Good is God?)

Yancey was interviewed by Gary Moon in the magazine, "Conversations," which is put out by the graduate school of which we are both an alum. Yancey recognized as a young journalist that,

"after a life-threatening tragedy, 'the church made it worse' with confusing and contradictory counsel: God is punishing you; No, it's Satan; No, it's God but out of love not punishment, for you've been specially selected to demonstrate faith."

So Yancey began researching libraries, experts, and the Bible for the real answers to facing such tragedies in life.

Yancey recently had a near-fatal car crash which, similar to our experiences, threw him effectively into a new "dimension" of life in which we are graced with discerning what is now really important in life. While "strapped to a back board uncertain whether (he) would live through the day, (he) came up with only three questions worthy of (his) attention at such a time:

  • Whom do I love?
  • What have I done with my life? and
  • Am I ready for whatever is next?

Yancey says, "I've been married some 41 years, and the four years we've shared together since the accident have been more intentional and more rewarding than most of the others."

Yancey, like us, is discovering the reality of this new dimension into which we have been thrown:

As Christ said,

"To save your life, you must lose it."

Or as we say tonight,

"You must go Down before you can go Up."

Picture, thanks to


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