"I think I need more hugs" I confessed to Justin earlier this week. I recognized this need inside myself after being offered a hug at church. In response to the question "How are you doing?" I replied with my typical "Okay". I'm honest enough with myself and those around me to not lie. I'm not doing great, I'm doing okay. I'm making it through. After that response I was offered a hug, a hug that was much needed. Want to know my initial response to the offer of a hug?
Really Megan!?! For whatever reason the offer of a hug brought out emotions I was not prepared for in that moment and I felt if I received the hug I would lose it. Taking time to reflect on my unwillingness to visit my emotions at that particular moment I spent some time thinking it through on my own since then.
Grief is a completely new thing for me. My childhood never brought about chances to learn about it or experience it firsthand. When my grandfather died 5 years ago I experienced it a bit but not it the fullness I am experiencing it currently. As I consider the challenges that have come into my life in the last year and the loss of not just my mom, grandma and grandma-in-law but also the grief that accompanies the loss of close relationships in my life, I've come to recognize just how many emotions there are to sort through.
By deflecting the hug I was choosing to distract myself from what I was really feeling in that moment.That's not a great way to live. While distracting and deflecting emotions may be necessary in abusive and life threatening situations, it is not necessary in my grief process.
"When we do not process before God the very feelings that make us human, such as fear or sadness or anger, we leak. Our churches are filled with "leaking" Christians who have not treated their emotions as a discipleship issue." Peter Scazzero
I desire to live an authentic and honest life in all areas and right now, I am grieving. I am not going to deny my emotions or believe that they mean I don't have faith. That couldn't be further from the truth. The same author quoted above also says this, "Turning toward our pain is counter intuitive. But in fact, the heart of Christianity is that the way to life is through death, the pathway to resurrection is through crucifixion."
So this is what I am learning about the grieving process for me. I need more hugs. If you offer me a hug I will allow myself to cry if that emotion overcomes me. I will be attentive to the emotions as they come and I will present each one (sadness, fear, anger, doubt) to God as an act of worship. I will embrace my limits. I will allow myself to process without feelings of guilt and I will come out of this season forever changed.