I’ve been going through a “course” at our church on Wednesday evenings that so far has been fascinating. It’s called Soul Care Loss and deals with the grief that we experience in our lives and dealing with it.
When we signed up, I figured I’d be doing it to support my wife and mother-in-law (who are both attending as well). I really didn’t figure it was going to be something I would benefit directly from.
Of course, I knew that I had gone through many losses in the last few years (the loss of my parents and the loss of my wife’s sister and father), but I’d always thought I’d dealt with them and had “moved on”. Maybe I have, and maybe I haven’t. We’ll see.
But what has struck me over the past two weeks is the OTHER losses that we experience – loss of jobs; loss of position, status, or roles; imagined losses; loss of property; loss of relationships and friendships. I’d never thought of those losses as just as traumatic to our lives as the death of someone we love.
If I go back two years, I probably hit the height of loss (at least I hope it’s the height, because I’m not anxious to experience anything greater) – the simultaneous loss of my sister-in-law to an untimely disappearance and death and the meltdown of our former church through the staff shakeup (and the declining health of my father-in-law as well in the background).
It hit me last night, with the church situation, one of the aspects for me, which I’d never really thought of, was the loss of my identity through the loss of my role at the church. My roles in the church were numerous – too numerous in fact – but while I may have felt overwhelmed at times and frustrated those roles still defined who I was in that setting. The massive changes, and our subsequent decision that God was calling us elsewhere, meant that I lost that identity. I lost that role. I grieved.
I know that I’m still grieving that in some ways, even though some of those roles have been refilled at our new church — not all of them thankfully :). I know too that for my wife, she also carried roles that were stripped away (Alpha for example) and those voids haven’t been filled yet.
It will be interesting to see where the course takes us in the coming weeks. It’s also been very interesting to hear other peoples stories of loss, but more on that later.