At different points in our lives, we can find ourselves in a place of transition – an in-between place. Here are three articles on the subject of personal Transition by Martin Scott looking at the Timing of transition, Grieving the change that transition brings, the fact that transition is often precipitated byCrisisand Leaving and Entering. These will be useful if you are in the process of some form of personal transition. More of Martin’s Blogs can be found at https://3generations.eu/longevity
Personal Transitions: Grieving
(Original Post: April 12, 2008)
In this post we look at: ‘there will be an element of grief and it is important to let that work its cleansing power’.
Grief is, of course, something that no-one wants to go through, but transition means leaving something behind, it means losing in order to gain. I believe in the process of transition (and of course the greater the transition the greater the level of potential grief… and one of the grief’s partners: regret).
There are typical pathways in grief:
- Shock and anger
The level of shock will be in proportion to how quickly the ending of the phase came, but regardless of how quickly the ending took place, a common experience is one of anger. A heartfelt response of ‘oh no’ (or where the word ‘no’ is spelt with a ‘sh’ at the beginning and a ‘t’ at the end!). This is no bad thing and it acts as a measure of emergency first-aid. The anger of course is often aimed at the system, the people or even at God. An anger that is suppressed is more dangerous than an anger that is expressed.
There then can often come a period of denial, with a belief that there is not going to be the leaving of the former phase (again I am describing the larger transitions here). The denial acts as an anaesthetic to help with the pain of what is taking place. However, the denial phase has to be worked through in order to come out the other side. Denial by itself will hold the person in place with a false hope – and such hope stifles the ability to find real hope for a fresh future.
The memories that surface are to enable us to learn – taking the best of what has been and leaving behind what we need to. We will never have yesterday again, but those days were intended to prepare us for what is come.
This tends to happen at the same time as the memories. ‘What now?’ type questions. Pondering on ‘what could have been / should have been’ is when the power of regret can overwhelm. But in this period there is the potential for faith and vision to grow… in the vacuum this can fluctuate between emptiness, regret, amazement, silence and fresh vision.
So the grieving process of leaving behind something that is not completely finished (leaving amidst crisis) is a very real experience. During this time the Lord is doing at work inside us of cleansing us from the past, even from the good elements of the past that will not be the guiding factor in the future, and he is encouraging fresh faith to rise.
Painful but necessary. And the pathway that will enable us to leave well.