Feeling and Revealing

Zine and I had the opportunity years ago for some counseling sessions with a grief counselor.  He came and spoke at our MDA Support Group Meetings several times.  I never will forget my first encounter in a support group meeting with him.  And I would guess he may never forget his encounter with me that night!  But he taught us some things that have helped us so much over the course of the past 13 years!  And what we learned then, is even more beneficial in our lives today than it was 13 years ago.

Here we are, sitting in a conference room with other parents who have children with muscular dystrophy.  And maybe some adults who have muscular dystrophy as well.   We were educated about the grief cycle.  When you experience the death of a loved one, grief is inevitable.  When you experience the loss of a job, grief is inevitable.  When we go through any tragic situation, grief is inevitable.  When we can understand the stages of grief, it can aide us as we walk through those seasons.

When you experience a child with a degenerative disease or when you are dealing with a long term illness, families experience open ended grief.  Families continually find themselves in a grief cycle.  You will work through the shock and denial period.  You might have been angry and thought you were over that and then a few months later you find yourself back at the anger stage.    When dealing with long term issues, the stages of grief never go away.  You  simply fluctuate from one stage to another.  Then a situation will happen which will trigger something inside and you go to a different stage.  For someone who likes a process and an organization chart, I found this very difficult to accept!  Once I go through this chart, then life should be normal.  I should never go backwards for sure!!  Well, to be honest, grief doesn’t work the way I want it to work.
Also, on that evening as we gleaned as much information that we could so that we could better handle the storm surge going on in our life, this counselor made a statement and what happened next I will probably never forget.  This counselor made this statement, “You can only heal what you choose to feel and reveal.”  Now my little self-sufficient, prideful, have it all together self took great issues at this statement.  So…without thinking…I said to this well trained counselor…that is totally wrong!  First, I can’t walk around crying all the time because my life is moving forward.  So I can’t be feeling because when I feel I can’t function.  And… I don’t know even know where you get that crazy idea about revealing.  No one wants for me to tell them what is going on in our lives.  My goodness, we tell them about doctors appointments and test results but if we were to reveal what was going on in our minds and our emotions…well our friends do NOT want to listen to that!  This counselor walked right over to me and very calmly and plainly said, you can choose whether you want to believe this statement or not.  That choice is up to you. But I can most certainly assure you this statement is true. He went on to say that if we didn’t have friends that wanted to listen and give us care, that He would listen and comfort.  Or he could find people that would listen.  But as long as we kept our thoughts and emotions pent up inside of us and never allowed others to speak love and care into our lives, we would never move forward from where we were.  This statement I’ve chewed on for 13 years!  And I have learned through the years, this man was a smart man!  I simply did not like what he said.
You see, to feel is sometimes difficult.  I would much rather put my mask on and the gates closed to the fortress in my heart.  That’s just easier.  To feel is difficult.  It’s hard.   For me it was much easier to ignore the emotions!  But months later, I found myself in the very same spot.  I hadn’t moved much from that spot.  Someone could mention my situation and I would find tears well up in my eyes, my heart would feel a bit of anger, my tone of voice would either be sharp or it would simply change the subject and try to forget the emotions that just surfaced.  But this happened EVERY time someone would talk about my situation.  Talk about tiring…that’s exhausting!  Not to mention frustrating because then I would get mad at myself for not being able to handle things better.  
Yep…I definitely ride the short bus sometimes.  Just wondering how long it will take me to learn that this counselor was correct.  Hate to say it…I’ve come a long ways in 13 years but I still have a long ways to go!  I’ve spent some hard counseling sessions struggling through this issue.  I’ve had times where I have felt and revealed and healing did come!  So I now know that statement is true.  But for some reason, it still feels much safer to keep those feelings and thoughts to yourself.  
So…God calls me often out of my comfort zone regularly.
Thankful for those who allow me to feel and reveal with no fear of being judged! Thankful for the counselor who rocked my world years ago.  Thankful for a counselor who has poured many hours into my life and my marriage.  Thankful for opportunities when I get to be God’s hands and feet in other’s lives.  Reminding myself that when I receive from others, then I can freely give to others!   I sure thought I was good giver before!  I can’t imagine what God can do after I get through this season of life!  


Wife of 20+ years. Mom to 3 children. Love sharing my life with weary hearts so that we can know the One who is Good, who is in Control, and Whose strength is made perfect in our weaknesses.