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Lessons From Grief: “New Normal”

Grief sucks, plain and simple. It’s teaches us quite a few lessons so we can help those who are currently struggling through it. You learn some surprising insights from it, one being that you gain a new identity.

Have you lost someone and found that nothing feels the same? A new normal has to arise, with a new identity of sorts. I’ll let C.S Lewis explain:

“In each of my friends there is something that only some other friend can fully bring out. By myself I am not large enough to call the whole man into activity; I want other lights than my own to show all his facets… Hence true Friendship is the least jealous of loves. Two friends delight to be joined by a third, and three by a fourth, if only the newcomer is qualified to become a real friend.”

C.S Lewis The Four Loves

When you lose someone close, they’re a friend whether they are related or not. That part of you that they could get you to reveal is hidden again. How we act around one friend is different than with another. My wife sees both the extremely goofy and analytical sides of me. My best friend enjoys engaging the part of me that goes deep into obscure topics that would bore my wife to tears.

The part someone brings out is gone when we lose them. It’s hidden away, just a memory. A hole is formed and it has to be filled the best way possible. That involves a change, a new normal–not moving on, but forward.

Some of the changes I went through is I began to legitimately care about people. Before, it was all about me. I opened up, appreciated life, and realized that a lot of life’s squabbles are petty and stupid in the end. It leads to regret when one of you dies.

As we grieve, we’ll adapt, becoming someone a little different. It’ll hurt still, and don’t worry, you won’t forget about them. As time goes on, other parts of your personality and life experiences will be drawn out. Like a music talent that was dormant or neglected will return. We grieve, but we also grow.

Destiny

Losing A Loved One; How Your Worst Moment Can Lead To Something More

Every person alive has something in their past. It can be regrets. Maybe a tragic loss left a hole in their life. What do you do with that?

A friend reminded me of the good that can come from the bad. Four of us were worshipping one evening, all of us with scars left behind by life. Later my wife showed me a video of the absolute last person I expected to see teaching a Sunday school class.

DestinyAll five of us lost someone. One had to watch cancer take his loved one, while the other four lost their loved ones in sudden accidents.. It can lead to jaded bitterness. I was jaded for a little while afterwards. My best friend had to tell me to knock it off with the fatalism.

What gets you out of that?

Surprisingly, it is when you do not focus on yourself so much. You focus on others. It does not mean bottling up your emotions, however.

Work through them as they come. It is not healthy to be stuck in them. I recommend finding a local GriefShare group. Go here for more info.

You may find yourself leading a group. The experience lets you be able to meet hurting people on common ground with more than platitudes and it can bring you closer to God. In the case of my godson’s dad and me, that is what happened. He’s serving as a teacher and I can honestly say I am proud of how far he’s come.

If you’re hurting and want to reach out, I’ll listen. Comment here, DM me on Twitter, or email me at abysspress@gmail.com. If you have an experience that helped you grow as a person, share it here if you’re comfortable with it.

My Purpose?

GriefShare ended last month, the lessons at time paralleling my experiences during introspective moments that I’ve shared on here. Two of the things that stuck out to me were the terms ‘new normal’ and ‘moving forward’ as opposed to moving on. When someone dies, it leaves a hole in our lives; our adapting to the loss is what sets the new normal as we grieve. We move forward from that, acknowledging what we lost and continuing our lives. It is not moving on as if they never lived; I could not forget even if I had wanted to.

What is my new normal, I wondered. During the last video, I made a list:

  • Encouraging others because others encouraged me when I needed it. I used to be reclusive, however, lately if someone is in my circle, I try to show them someone cares. They do not have to be close friends, but friends, acquaintances, the next generation, showing support, listening, and taking time for those that others may overlook.
  • Helping others, generally through one of the ministries, people that appear in my life, or projects that spring up.
  • Occasionally counseling others.

Summing it up, the new normal focuses on others now. What does moving forward look like overall? There is a quote in the workbook:

“If you don’t know your purpose, this is a great opportunity to discover it.” Sabrina D. Black

That resonated with me in light of my introspection as of late. When something happens, or people interact, it causes a ripple that we respond to negatively, neutrally, or positively. Circumstances help shape us by the experience, and we respond to it by internalizing it into the unique way we are designed. Our purpose we find within our design. Circumstances and consequences give us the experience to adapt it, showing us that we are capable. I will elaborate in light of the last post.

A Reformer + Peacemaker = Idealist who loves to learn. Due to the personality of the Reformer type, he has to justify his ideal and choices. He studies deeper than reasonable because of his learning drive and desire to be right and good. Done right and it produces someone who tries to walk his talk. Tempered with the Peacemaker wing/influence helps build bridges.

He is not actively pursuing, but interacting within the circles, he travels because he is also introverted. However, new people keep popping up at just the right time without his looking for them. Taking this design and adding the spiritual gift of service and he’s able to push his boundaries a little, helping behind the scenes. This puts him into contact with other people and relationships are built.

Cap SpeechMy purpose? Well I still fill the gaps, just on a deeper level than I realized. A multi-level gap filler who can give a hand, steward a cleaning team, answer questions, and give advice. Part of the legacy my godson unknowingly left is teaching me there is more to life than myself. He gave me a greater appreciation of life and the experiences of it being what is important. The others we lost, friends and family, taught me sympathy because I know what it is like to hurt. The trauma taught me my limits, the darker side of life, which gave me a greater appreciation of life. Tempered with humility, the realization that in spite of all that has happened throughout my life here, others have it worse.

My purpose…is to help to the best of my ability.