When we lose someone, it hurts, but generally, the happy memories outweigh the bad. The ache subsides as a new normal is established, with the fond memories occasionally arising. I wish I had the luxury of fond memories. With the completion of the first half of my book, Ronin’s Journey that documents the journey of grief along with the steps I took to try to heal, coupled with the Grief Share program, it stays in the forefront of my mind. At least I get to talk to others about it every Saturday evening.
It does not take much for my mind to go to dark places, like the comment made ‘taking things a day at a time’, and I remember at least four unexpected deaths. A joke at work about fireworks as earplugs sparks memories I do not wish to revisit. I cannot watch a video, or look at a picture of my godson; the memories that brings are not happy ones. Instead, I see horror, and when we returned to our former home where he died, it had been renovated; as I walked through, the heavy atmosphere was still present. I did not see what it looked like that Good Friday; I was taken back to that hot July day. It always happens there, the memory of a yard full of cops and emergency personnel.
I have been ripped apart before, in between, and since by guilt and hatred. Hurting people have a tendency to hurt other people, some lash out occasionally, some just want to maliciously share the pain they feel. Inner wounds that were healing, having the scabs picked off, and the pain renewed; or made to feel guilty about doing good for others or trying to heal. That in tandem with time at my personal Hell on Earth, I fell into a depressive spiral. I felt like the tax collector from Luke 18, “He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’”
Watching the testimonies at the Good Friday service did not faze me. The dinner date with my wife was not pleasant as she tried to make me feel better. The next day at the church’s bridge event while working the food drive booth, knowing it was going to feed thousands of kids, I sat wondering why I was even alive. I reached out to a friend at Grief Share for her thoughts. She said I have to protect myself, my avoidance of the place was not wrong, and I am reminded that people grieve differently. If something sends you into a spiral every time, stay away, do not repeat it. Do not go around those who send you to the bad places in your head. If they truly cared, they would understand and not hurt you again.
After the Easter service, I felt a little better, working through it on the First Samuel 12:24 blog here, but the ache remained. I went through my study Bible looking for guidance and comfort. Psalm 34:22 and Psalm 71: 19-24 were the comfort that I found. Matthew 11: 28-30 reminded me that I am not in it alone. Colossians 1: 21-23 reminded me that I am reconciled, without blemish, and free from accusation. 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7 reminded me of what love actually is. The Apostle Paul is a good example of someone who made a 180 degree turn, in Philippians 3: 13-14, he wrote that he was forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead. He acknowledged his guilt in 1 Timothy 1: 12-17, and moved past it to be very effective in his ministry.
If someone cannot let go of our past, sometimes we have to leave them there until they are ready to rejoin the present. My Lessons from Mark post reminded me of that, where I went through Mark 6 in the Message Bible paraphrase. Two songs come to mind, What I’ve Overcome by Fireflight, and I Won’t Go Back by William McDowell; got to hang on that.