There comes a time when the pain is gone,
But it’s just as true that truth you bear,
What was that’s now lost can make us strong,
By the softening of our hearts to simply care.
Although anger is a most necessary part of grief—a principal component toward true healing—it may be an antecedent or precursor to a better thing: patience.
Healing from grief may be defined as that state where we know the fullness of truth about what has occurred, but we feel little or none of the pain anymore.
Such a thing is not a denial of the truth. We honour the truth. We honour who we were. We honour the past and those people or situations now gone or transformed. And we may occasionally lament life because it involves loss; this is merely a wrestling with the truth.
Patience is what this journey is all about.
God will teach us how to be gentler with ourselves, with our circumstances, with our recovery. But we must learn, first of all, to give ourselves over Jehovah Rapha—God our Healer (Exodus 15:26).
Such a place of having been healed—which is a landmark of healing in no ultimate sense—because there may still be tinges of pain occasionally—mandates we hold two tensions simultaneously: we are open to our pain as we are open to the truth, and our pain dissipates because that truth we have we are not afraid of anymore.
That truth has helped to define us. That truth has been central to the forging of our new identity. We honour that truth, tough as it is. Courage has become us.
Meeting Pain in Truth and in Gentleness
It would be no good to meet the pain in our grief without gentleness. Both are needed: to approach the truth, yet in gentleness. This is where others play a role; caring others.
We need space to repeat ourselves. We need a compassionate space. We need a space where there is space to simply ‘be’ without judgment—heaven knows we will be judging ourselves enough as it is.
There is only beauty in truth and power for healing when we are gentle, being patient enough to care for ourselves and to allow others to care for us. When we come about grief like this we can find someone who will care, despite how lonely we may be feeling.
There is only beauty in pain when we have hope for healing. We need to be patient and continue to wrangle with our truth, knowing that patience is helped by gentleness. Anger is understandable, but patience is by far better. Foster gentleness.
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.