Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Tuesday's Trust - Run the Gauntlet "If You Want To Be Loved On...!" - 5 1/2 Years Into My Grief

Tuesday's Trust

Run the Gauntlet

"If You Want To Be Loved On...!"

5 1/2 Years Into My Grief

Daniel Boone was made to "Run the Gauntlet" in order to survive capture by the Shawnee Indians. Running the Gauntlet involved passing through a long line of warriors who then beat at him with "clubs, hoe handles, tomahawks, and butcher knives." Many men die after Running the Gauntlet just once but Daniel Boone, though badly beaten, survived.

Collectivism: the practice or principle of giving a group priority over each individual in it.

Gauntlet: noun, consecutive tasks endured sequentially; as these do not cause serious injuries, only bearable pain; they are sometimes eagerly anticipated by the initiate as a sign of acceptance into a more prestigious group.

I'll never forget the words of psychologist, Diane Langberg, who has been in private practice for years as a Christian therapist working with extremely wounded people. She was teaching us Christian Counselors (along with other Christian workers in the church) in an American Association of Christian Counselors' (AACC) seminar (Diane is now the president of AACC), words to the following effect:

"Don't think that you can talk down to people from out of your ivory tower to tell them to come up out of the pit of their turmoil to come up to you. You must be humble, gentle, and kind like the Suffering Servant and go down into the pit with them, and walk alongside them awhile, and then gently lead them out of their pit."

Brilliant words if I've ever heard any that speak to the heart of the most healing ways in psychotherapy, for there is no place for pride and arrogance (ever, really, but especially) when you are working with a wounded soul.

Now we are the wounded souls, 5 1/2 years into our child-loss grief . . .

And unlike the words of Diane Langberg's gentle and kind spirit, I heard words from a woman who thinks of herself as being a caring person (as she heads up many of the outreach ministries of our Sunday School), yet her words resonated with the harsh attitude I had sensed all along from most of the Christians around me during these five-and-a-half arduous years of grieving the death of our 19-year-old child... while we are barely functional, just trying to survive . . . one tiny step at a time.

Yet the church people still seem to envision us as the strong people we once were . . . and therefore have totally unrealistic expectations for us. The Death of Our Child changes us, yet we are being asked to come back and "fit in" to a collective unit which no longer reflects our depth of need ~ as if we were fully functioning after such depths of grief, as if our child's death never happened, as if our lives haven't been changed forever (this side of Heaven anyway).

It feels as if many Christians are requiring us to "Run the Gauntlet" to prove our love for them before we can "deserve" any love from them ON TOP OF Surviving our Child-Loss Grief which, by itself alone, already feels well-nigh impossible.

People seem awfully threatened when we have a need to break away from the "pack" to get our deeper needs met. It is unfortunate they cannot just love us anyway, just as we are. But our hearts are tender, and we must discern the environments that are loving and healing, just as we must discern when they are not...

So I wrote the following poem today, amidst crying deep sobs of grief . . .

"If You Want To Be Loved On...!"

5 1/2 years, I'd been away

From the class I'd attended (before my child's death) every Sunday...

"You must come here if you want to be loved on!"

she said to me that day...

that day our grand baby was dedicated ~

when we could barely get away . . .

but we did because it was a very important day.

Then we visited the class in which we once had faithfully participated...

"You must come here if you want to be loved on!"

(Is that what it has come to now

In the church that proclaims Your name:

A disabled grieving mommy must bow

To their rules, though our world will NEVER be the same?

Where is the love, sweet Jesus, that sent You to the cross to die,

Where You gave up Your life for others

Though Your own precious life You had to deny

Yet, those who say they love You, love to us grieving mothers would deny?)

"You must come here if you want to be loved on!"

No, to that I won't agree ~

For my Savior who died on the cross,

In His great love, He comes to me.

(Forgive us Lord for being so blind

To those around us who need Your love

When we have in mind, they must step in line

To our tune, or miss out on Your love.)

"You must come here if you want to be loved on!"

But You say,

"Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted."*

Thank You, Lord ~ We don't have to wait on others; we'll bask in Your love instead!

(But do they have any idea the added wounds they dish out upon our head?)

*Matthew 5:4

Pictures - from www.runthegauntlet.com

Poem - "If You Want To Be Loved On..." ~ 5 1/2 Years Into My Grief - Angie Bennett Prince - 2/20/2012


No comments:

Post a Comment