Loss is a four letter word we don't like to hear

L-O-S-S: Another Four-Letter Word

You know them, those ugly four-letter-words. We can’t avoid them. An acquaintance blurts one out, right in the middle of a soccer mom-conversation. Shock! How do you react to that? “I’m sorry, Sue. Can you say that again?”

After a while, you hear those ugly four letter words so much that they begin to slip out of your own lips. Denial! What just happened? I’m not supposed to talk like that.

And what about those cute YouTube videos, where parents capture every first, including when their three-year old casually drops the F-bomb. Angry! Why would a parent expose a child to that?

Maybe it’s a spouse who hurls ugly four-letter words in the midst of a heated argument, calling you names that no one should have to absorb. Wounded!

Ugly four-letter words: They shock; they assault our senses; they disappoint; they wound; they anger – and then they pass.

There is another four-letter word that is equally unavoidable. Sometimes it bursts into our lives, right in the midst an otherwise beautiful day.  Shock!

It is a message makes us cringe and shrink away from its reality. Denial!

It is a circumstance that we should not have to face – ever. Anger!

It is a hurt that reaches into the depths of our heart and squeezes until we feel that we can absorb no more pain. Wounded!

That word, that experience, is an ugly four-letter word: L-O-S-S. It shocks; it assaults our senses; it leaves wounds; and it stirs anger  – and it does not pass.

Life-changing loss comes in an unlimited array of circumstances and magnitude. It comes to each of us, if not today then tomorrow. Perhaps you have experienced loss because of one or more of the following:

  • The unexpected words of a spouse: “I don’t love you anymore.”
  • The destruction of emotional health at the hands of one who is mentally, physically, or sexually abusive.
  • The slow deterioration of body as disease takes over.
  • An addiction that steals more and more of your life or the life of a loved one.
  • A career that disintegrates before your very eyes.
  • The absolute devastation that accompanies the tragic death of someone you love.
  • Regret over years that cannot be reclaimed or relationships that cannot be renewed.
  • The unfulfilled dream of parenthood.
  • Or perhaps you have experienced loss from a wound so deep that I haven’t even the imagination to consider it.

We feel nothing if we don’t feel the pain of our own loss. It accompanies us as a dark shadow, and we live with an emotional overflow that can become crippling: depression, heaviness, fear, anxiety, anger, resentment or bitterness. It takes no effort to focus on our own loss.

We are not so equipped to feel the pain of another’s loss. I admit that, for most of my life, I lacked true empathy. I naively assumed that grieving over the death of a loved one lasted only a handful of days, until my brother’s death interrupted my life. Only when I was inconvenienced by health issues could I fathom the discouragement of chronic illness. Until I was alone, I could not imagine the sadness of becoming a widow. This is not about me, though.

This is a challenge to look beyond our own L-O-S-S. It is a reminder to look for and listen to the heavy hearts of others instead of dwelling on our own wounds. Everywhere we go, grief exists, oh so silently. It is the mom at the grocery store whose son is addicted to heroin; it is the young father at church who was just diagnosed with terminal cancer; it is the acquaintance who sits alone on the reality of physical abuse; it is the cashier who is going through a divorce; and it is the friend who is struggling with depression.

We barely need to scratch the surface to uncover the pain of L-O-S-S.

I arrived late, but no one seemed to notice. I longed for one of my classmates to see something amiss in my eyes, to hear my silent plea for help. If one did recognize my pain, I could not tell.

Twice Broken: My Journey to Wholeness

Challenge: Look with fresh eyes among your circle of friends, co-workers, and acquaintances. Is there pain and loss that you have forgotten, overlooked, or underestimated? Is there deep pain barely masked by a layer of the daily responsibility to hold life together? Is there pain buried by shame or hidden from the judgment of others?

Help us learn from your experience. Leave a comment,  and share how you have learned to recognize the needs of others and respond with compassion and support.

 

Dragging the heavy load of guilt.

What Did Shakespeare Say about the Burden of Guilt?

The Heavy Yoke of Guilt

Is it a gender mishap that we women tend to carry the guilt of the world on our shoulders? If we were intended to do so, wouldn’t we have the broadest shoulders, the most powerful legs, and unending stamina? More like oxen, let’s say.

Have you seen oxen work the farm? Burdensome yokes on their shoulders, as they drag a heavy weight around and around, one tedious step at a time. 

The Oxen Versus the Woman

We do not have the sturdy frame of an ox, because we were never meant to drag the much-too-heavy yoke of guilt. Unfortunately, many of us have wasted a great deal of time and energy lugging our burden through life, one tedious step after another. And, being the wonderful women that we are, we have often picked up the guilt of others, as if it were nothing more than another piece of dirty laundry. The difference, of course, is that guilt is not so easily laid aside.

Did you know that even Shakespeare addressed the challenge of ridding ourselves of guilt? In MacBeth, Shakespeare wrote what has been referred to as “the psychic malignancy” of guilt: Out, damned spot! Out, I say!

Our Challenge Today

What guilt have you carried, or do you carry still? Perhaps it is your role in a broken relationship; that last phone call that was not placed in time; the failures of motherhood; or the regret of bad choices. (Feel free to add your own.)

Let’s ask ourselves this: what has guilt ever done for us? Has it added emotional fatigue, irritation, and unhappiness to an already overloaded life? Has it kept us awake at night, or had a detrimental effect on our minds and bodies? Or, as the writer below expresses, has it caused us to withdraw or avoid certain relationships:

What people don’t typically know about guilt is that it’s a double-whammy distress: You feel culpable for a wrong that is not known to people who should be apprised of it, yet when you contemplate an airing of your misdeeds, a feeling of shame kicks in and blocks you from doing so. 

Forbes Magazine

Our Choice Today

Have you wronged someone? Ask forgiveness, make restitution, and move on. To do otherwise is to subject yourself to a lifetime of penance.

The cycle of self-inventory became a consuming and destructive force, a revolving door of inspection, finger-pointing, and guilt. The conclusion was always the same: “If only I had…”

Twice Broken: My Journey to Wholeness

Undeserved guilt is a thief. It steals our peace of mind, our time, our energy, and our ability to be all that God has created us to be. Undeserved guilt keeps us bent in an unproductive posture, unable to look up, unable to see and embrace all the good that life has to offer.

AHA Moment: I never was intended to bear the heavy yoke of guilt, and I choose to unburden myself!

If guilt remains a burden in your life, join me. Let’s free ourselves to be the friends, the mothers, the daughters, and the sisters we were created to be.  Free of the heavy yoke of undeserved and unhealthy guilt.

Jeopardy - Alex Trebek

7 Questions Alex Trebek Never Read

7 Questions Alex Trebek Never Read

I love Jeopardy, and I love Alex Trebek. But I hate those really smart contestants who seem to know everything about ancient history, literature, art, geography, and other stuff that most of us never learned  in school.

As Americans, we should be well-equipped to understand what’s going on in our country, but I’m guessing that most of us are more knowledgeable about pop culture than some of the more “serious” topics.

POP CULTURE

Let’s see how you do with a bit of pop culture:

  • Do you know who won the 2017 Super Bowl?
  • Do you remember what famous country music star got her start on American Idol?
  • Which music legend owned a place that he named Neverland?
  • What color did Johnny Cash always wear?
  • What famous professional basketball player was often recognized by his initials, M. J.?
  • Which horror movie begins with the words, “Children of the ….?
  • Do you know which Nicholas Sparks book tells the life story of Noah and Allie?
  • Can you give the names of two famous actors who were given the single name, “Brangelina?”
  • Can you name three social media apps that people use nearly every day? The following are just a few: a, b, c, d.
  • Which of Donald Trump’s daughters has the most public visibility?
  • What type of music does Snoop Dogg perform?

Now let’s see how you do with other issues that affect us as Americans:

I’m no Jeopardy whiz, and maybe you’re not either. That’s why I made sure you have all the Google links necessary to check things out for yourself.

But tell me, was I right? Were you able to answer more questions about pop culture? Or did you answer more of the Jeopardy-type questions? (If so, you might want to audition as a Jeopardy contestant!)

Things You Should Know

If the producers of Jeopardy let me create my own category, I would simply call it, “Things You Should Know.” It would sound like this:

 

Alex: More than 20,000 of these are placed each day in the United States.

Contestant: What are calls to domestic violence hotlines?

 

Alex: One out of three women will experience this in her lifetime.

Contestant: What is physical abuse?

 

Alex: Every year, more than 3,000 women do this because of domestic violence.

Contestant: What is lose their lives?

 

Alex: Domestic violence situations are the most dangerous type of calls for these public servants.

Contestant: Who are police officers?

 

Alex: Violent relationships are most likely to begin during this four-year age range.

Contestant: What is 19 – 22?

 

Alex: Only 34% of domestic violence victims ever do this.

Contestant: What is seek medical aid?

 

Alex: Women who leave a battering partner are this much more likely to be killed within two weeks after leaving the relationship than at any other time.

Contestant: What is 70 times more?

 

I doubt my Category, “Things You Should Know,” will clear the producer’s cut, but that doesn’t mean it’s not information worth knowing…and sharing.