I wrote to a therapist 1000 miles away to see if it might possibly be a fit for me to work with him on grief. I read an article of his, which was mainly his testimony. He was ready to end his life. His life was a divided life, trying hard to be someone that he was not. But that wasn’t the main message. The message in a lot of ways was that he didn’t know who he really was, so he had gone one way, and when pain and rejection had come (and green grass on the other side), he had turned around, embracing what he thought would shield him from pain and suffering and bring a full life. Except, that he found that just as empty too. So, he was ready to end his life, had his instrument of choice ready, when his wife came home early from a retreat on grief. They talked about 40 things that he had never grieved.
What caught my attention was the sentence describing his reaction to his wife’s suggestion to grieve the things that she believed that he hadn’t grieved the loss of.
“Living through all that sorrow and shame hurt badly enough the first time; why go through it again? “
I have lost a lot too. And I have worked with different therapists on grief. So far without the success that I had hoped for.
Today, I was talking with my son. As I was talking to him about working with another therapist, I said that I realized that he had suffered because I never played apart from him. He said, “Yeah, you and mom were both workaholics”. I was crushed. I had convinced myself that I was working the only job that I knew (I had experienced 6 months of unemployment where I searched for jobs for which I was qualified.) I admit that I had an income as a technical specialist in a niche field that I thought might barely get us through the storm of divorce.
A Christian financial counselor had met with us before we separated and had said that if I ever lost my job, we would experience financial ruin. Several years later, after the 6 months of unemployment, I was facing bankruptcy and wondering what I could do. He said that he didn’t know what I was doing, but whatever I was doing to keep doing it. He said that I never should have been able to survive the 6 months of unemployment. My son then commented that both his mom and I ended up financially ruined, because we both experienced bankruptcy. I didn’t see that as ruin, just hardship. But, that jarred my thinking.
But what really jarred my thinking was the term workaholic. For some reason, I don’t like to see myself as an addict. My ex-wife in one of her reasons for divorcing me, said that I was a rageaholic. The other two reasons could also be put in the category of addiction. I had seen my work as just very demanding, in a very rapidly segment of technology. I did what I had to do.
But, I started questioning my resistance to being labelled an addict. I didn’t think that God loved addicts. I saw that the reason that I worked the way that I did, and the reason that my son didn’t see me play, except with him, was because I didn’t trust God to provide in those areas. The same goes for a second wife, and a home. I knew that relationships can be an addiction (I had seen too many people make mistakes on the “rebound”, and wanted to avoid that.)
So I pondered, who are addicts really? Control is an aspect, but what I sensed was that it was not the root. That is when I wondered if I was back again to the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. I judged that my ability to make money to cushion the blow of divorce to our young son was better than God’s ability. That my love for my son was stronger than His. What nonsense!
I have wasted so much energy and time pursuing what I thought was needed and what would work, where I just needed to sit at His feet.
So, I wondered, especially in the light of the revelations that I was angry at God. And that I couldn’t keep from cursing myself.
What would it really be like to completely give up thinking that I could understand? What would it be like to just trust my Abba / Daddy (Rom 8:15 , Gal 4:6 )? What would it be like to be led by the hand? Like a little child ( Mar 10:15 , Luk 18:17 )? What would it be like to live knowing that I am profoundly ignorant*, and just trusting God to be with me, and His Holy Spirit to always be leading me? Trust or addiction to the wine made from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil? Trust seems more compatible with the home that I desire.
And that leads to topics that I don’t have the energy to write about yet, mainly my judgment that trust is better for a home, because that still has judgment of knowledge of good and evil in it. And desire. I feel like a little kid pulling toward something that I desire. My Abba / Daddy will walk with me toward it, if it is best. And if it is best, He will walk with me toward it when it is best as well.
*Being profoundly ignorant is the subject of this Christian blog.
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