ABOUT HALF WAY THROUGH MARCH I FELT SUCH CONFLICT…
I came in from a Bible study on Monday night and had a brief chat with my brother about our Momma. She has gotten to the point of hardly eating at all, and over the weekend I learned from a friend who’s spent time as a Hospice worker that this is part of the dying process. When a person is actively dying, they will refuse food because eating actually causes discomfort and pain.
But nothing could have prepared me for the words he spoke…”I don’t think she will make it another ten days.” I had a hard time breathing…and just felt emotions well up in me that I did not expect.
I mean, really, she is on hospice, and I have known this was coming…I guess I just kept putting it into the future, so when Jim said that, reality began to set in.
I took a walk around the block a few times and wondered why the tears kept coming. I looked across the sky, and the stars shone with a light that felt different…almost piercing…knowing my pain.
Maybe the emotions sprang from the class I attended taught by Pastor Louie Kaupp. The title was “Respectful Speech” and the topic was correction and rebukes. At one point during the class, I felt the tears coming when I saw what true, loving correction looks like. Nothing at all like the mean-spirited and harsh rebukes I have experienced in the spiritually abusive and toxic “church” I belonged to.
Leading up to this, I had listened to a CD series on Shame and realized again how much shame was heaped on me in those 12 years. Brene Brown defined shame as
“the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging”…
She went on to say that
“shame does not help us be the people we want to be…in fact, what it does is corrode the parts of us that believe that we can be better…it absolutely tears apart our sense that we can be and do better.”
And then, the nail in the proverbial coffin:
“To make shame grow exponentially, you only have to add 3 things:
If you douse shame with those things it will grow out of control in your life.”
This truth goes right along with the topic I blogged about a while ago on “Shaming and Shunning” and how that was a huge part of the abuse I’d endured.
I think all of those things hitting me at the same time exposed some raw spots that still need healing. But I still have much to learn about embracing pain when it comes. Instead of staying “in the moment” and running to God with the pain and allowing Him to comfort me, I spent about half an hour working on uploading a book to the printer.
Yep, that’s my drug of choice. WORK. I use it to escape pain a lot, and I did it again here.
I realized from an earlier class I was part of that I wasn’t seeing myself clearly. He had quoted Brene’s work that
“the 3 main strategies to disconnect from pain are 1) Move away (hide) 2) Move toward (people pleasing / taking the blame) and 3) Move against (using shame to fight shame, anger).”
I originally felt that my tendency is to people please / take the blame, but I’m beginning to see that the truth is that I MOVE AWAY, hiding in my work, numbing the pain with the distraction of my job, and self-medicating in what most would think a very acceptable way.
In other words, I use my work to push God away. That makes me so sad to see how I wasted this opportunity to allow The Lord to comfort me, but at the same time, I am grateful that He allowed me to see so clearly how I squander times of pain.
So, I’m sharing all this to say one thing…I know my Momma’s passing is imminent…and I do not want to do the same thing when it finally happens. I want to embrace the pain, grieve well, and fully allow the Lord to meet me in the loss.
In caring for your aging parent(s), did you discover an area of your life that still needed healing?
How did the Lord help you through it?