Friday, August 28, 2015

Jesus, Found In Loss and Faithful Companion In Grief

IF I was to pick a time in my life when life began to take on more meaning and purpose than ever, as I look back, it would be when I suffered most.
What an irony it is that a time I most hated in life came to be the most memorable time of my life. That is because I learned that God was not just what I believed in; God was who I believed in. Jesus became real for me during that time, for the first time. At that time Jesus became my Saviour — by actual experience.
The way I see it we can grieve well or we can grieve very poorly. If we grieve well we find that we reach out to God regarding how we truly feel about the injustice of our losses, and we receive healing even in the instant.
How we truly feel is about sadness, not anger, not bargaining, not denying; sadness!
Grieving well means we don’t imagine God doing nothing. He is doing something as he bears us. As we bellow our prayers of sullen complaint, God is listening. He feels us. We imagine his intrinsic interest. And we feel his empathy, even as if we were able to pity ourselves. But God’s care is so much more genuine and powerful and productive than our own self-pity is. It’s validation that alleviates grief because it’s been heard. God’s pity is palpable enough to cause us to melt under the weight of our loss — a healthy and healing melting. God’s pity is nothing about vengeance, nor is it anything about anyone else. God meets us where we are at, personally, in how we are feeling within ourselves at that moment.
Grieving poorly, on the other hand, might also involve God, but we may not understand that God is wanting us to go into our core. To grieve poorly is to remain in a justifiable anger when we could otherwise go into our unparalleled sadness. To grieve poorly is to work on bargaining with God — “if I do this, God will you do that?” Grieving poorly is to deny the source of the problem and/or the depth of what we face.
If we don’t grieve well we don’t just delay our healing, we prolong and compound our pain.
It’s essential to grieve well if we’re to heal appropriately in a reasonable time frame.
To grieve well is to suffer in truth with forbearance so as not to take an easier way out. But the easier ways of denying, staying angry, and bargaining end up being harder than if we had just knuckled down to our grief work.
The difference between grieving well and poorly is Jesus. If he is real in our prayers we imagine him ministering his grace in healing ways. We are getting better.
Jesus is faithful in loss, the only helpful companion in grief.
© 2015 Steve Wickham.

11 Ways to a Heart of Compassion

COMPASSION is a heart that believes in another’s best when they feel they’re the worst. We all have such times when we feel worthless and useless, and who we need is someone with compassion; that they might genuinely see us, as we are, as worthy individuals of esteem in, and especially in, God’s company.
Sometimes we cannot impress those around us and this, for some, makes life deplorable. Then there are times when we have failed, or been betrayed, or when we suffer loneliness and loss.
Here are eleven ways to develop within us the heart of compassion for others:
1.     Find someone worse off than you and pray for that person. Really meditate on where they are at. Ask God that they feel enriched in some good way.
2.     Find someone who disagrees with you and agree with them. Take their side.
3.     Learn about a part of the world you previously had no idea about. Find a part in their existence where they are less fortunate than you. Pray God fuse that in your mind and watch how the Spirit works.
4.     Where another has an issue with you, go to them, and make peace.
5.     Reverse your understanding. Stand in the other person’s shoes. Go deliberately against your feelings. Stay there for a time. Watch your heart soften.
6.     Using your will, forgive someone you have loathed for some time. Forgive an act using your simple ability to decide.
7.     Imagine some of the ways you’ve hurt God, and quietly recount these before him in prayer. Feel your heart heal in the process.
8.     Notice the person you’ve favoured. Notice the person you’ve dissed. Notice how partiality has coloured your perspective away from compassion.
9.     Go to a museum or take a history course or watch a history documentary on YouTube. Enjoy feeling smaller than you normally feel. Enjoy with gratitude the simple nature of being alive on the cusp of time.
10. Give someone your fullest attention, and keep doing so.
11. Make a study of God’s grace. Learn something new about what you may already know well.
Hearts of compassion make a difference in the world, but not so much in terms of innovative advocacy.
Hearts of compassion make this difference: they honour God in the small matters of simply being true in the moment.
Hearts of compassion see through the lens of God with magnificent acuity. This is because they have thrown off the self and put on love. Can there be any better way to live? No, it’s the abundant life is this!

© 2015 Steve Wickham.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

What We Most Want

To be touched.
HAUNTING presences of awareness break past the barriers of our conscious intellect. These evocative seconds, fleeting as they are, are eternity’s bracket — a pithy taste of home — as we traverse this foreign sortie. The moment is so discreet, but it is weighty — God’s glory known in and through us.
To be touched is to know it’s but us and God.
To be touched is to understand the weight of glory in the Presence of God.
To be touched is to be met.
Haunting presences of awareness make their way as revelation into the sinews of our being. They massage their way through the material of what we are verily made of. These haunting presences of the Lord Almighty are the reality of the Lord in this realm. They are in a form as only we could experience them. And we are touched.
To be touched is to know transformation.
To be touched is to know that what was is now gone; what is has now come.
To be touched is to not look longingly back, but only to look forward; but to carry the past as a treasure with us. It’s ours. It’s a possession we’ll take with us into eternity.
Haunting presences of awareness create the sense of weight. To be touched like this is to know the Presence of God that never leaves us the same. Change has come. A miracle has been graced toward us. Perhaps we prayed for it. Maybe we had no idea.
God is real when we are touched by this haunting presence of awareness.
What we most want is to be touched by God — and perhaps atheists want it most. We must believe in God in this life or life makes precisely no sense whatsoever. If life doesn’t rise up to the heights of eternity we know we are away from home. Yet, earth is all we’ve known.
To be here on earth is to feel partly home and partly alive. We need to be touched.
To be touched in life with that ethereal sense that transcends the world is being touched by God.
We most want to be touched, not physically, but deeply spiritually.
The thing is if we embark toward the truth we will be touched.
If we seek God with all we have and all we are, then we will find him. Ultimately we will be touched greatly in ways that overwhelm all our preconceptions.
What we most want is to be touched by God’s inimitable Presence.
No pleasure of earth comes close. To know something of the weight of God’s glory, as much as we can in this life, is to be touched.

© 2015 Steve Wickham.

Monday, August 24, 2015

5 Ways to Make Sense of a Life of Struggle

A series of pithy meditations to help you.
If you feel lonely,
Yet you don’t run from that emotion,
You will learn how to grow through pain.
Honesty is fitted to loneliness which makes for pain; to sit there and endure it. It’s the right thing to do. Don’t run from the emotion. It will do you no harm.
If you feel anxious,
Yet you don’t give way to that fear,
You will grow in strength through stillness.
Sitting in the anxiety is sometimes all we can healthily do. But don’t panic. Stick with calming words, thoughts and ideas and allow God’s Spirit to massage into you a sense for stillness which begets strength.
If you feel depressed,
Yet you don’t give up, bargain or fly into a rage,
You will grow in compassionate resilience.
There is a way through in pure belief that there is a way through. Though the heart gallops, bring it to a canter. Trust God to bring something meaningful into this season for all seasons to come.
If you feel angry,
Yet you don’t give way to the bitterness,
You will be shown the cauterising goodness in sorrow.
Anger is necessary, yet it need not be destructive. Be creative in your anger. And allow times when there is no bypass from the sorrow that sits just beneath your anger. Go into the sorrow and experience its cauterising goodness.
If you are overcome by grief,
Yet you don’t give up on the hope of a resurrected future,
You will yet learn to live life even in the midst of the loss.
It won’t always be like this. It won’t. It won’t always be like this. It won’t. It won’t always be like this. It won’t. Understand? You will see. And you need to hope this.
If life is a struggle, especially right now;
Don’t despair. It won’t always be this hard.
If life is a bore, especially today;
Don’t lose heart. It won’t always be this meaningless.
If life is exhilarating, right at this time;
Don’t get ahead of yourself. It won’t always be this great.
If life is a frustration, and you can’t get ahead;
Don’t think it’s over. There will another opportunity, and another...
If life is unparalleled joy, in the midst of this hour;
Enjoy it knowing it won’t last forever.
If life is so hard it’s just not worth living;
Don’t give up. Relief is just around the corner, if you look for it.
If life finds you reflective, in your present season;
Shout hooray! There’s always time to make meaning of life.
Life won’t always be the way it is now. What we miss may still be eclipsed by what is still coming. It’s a reasonable hope. Be encouraged.
© 2015 Steve Wickham.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

The True Meaning (and Hard Work) of Love

LOVE seems such a confused concept in this ‘love is love’ age. Love is only love when we understand that love joins emotion with action. Love that is emotion without action is merely infatuation. This is not to cast aspersions on the love enjoyed by two consensual adults, where there is the assumption of love giving itself for the other. But a love that only expects is not love.
There is the realm of love far more veritable than the love of romance. We must give our partner our love in ways they feel loved, but beyond romantic relationships the very same principle applies.
Love is not about me. It’s not about you. It’s about the other person. If we cannot get beyond ourselves we cannot love, and, in that, we do not live the life of Christ.
Love is about response.
Love Is About Response
Love is not about how we feel at the offense given to us, but it is about the grace-configured response we give.
If you hate being excluded,
Love others by including them.
If you hate being talked about,
Love others by refusing to talk about them.
If you hate being disrespected,
Love others by offering unconditional respect.
If you hate it when people don’t trust you,
Love others by trusting them.
If you hate being not listened to,
Love others by listening to them.
God honours our responses of advocacy. God instructs us to turn the injustices we suffer into love through becoming an advocate for others. Advocacy is how we avoid bitterness. We turn the injustices meted out to us, inwardly, outwardly through advocacy for others’ needs.
When we lack, God is showing us where others lack too. He is showing us how to love them through what we lack. We get to feel how others feel so we can give them empathy, and by giving them empathy, God gives us the empathy we need through how others are blessed by our giving of empathy to them.
God’s love is real when we love others with His love.
And the same can be said for what we experience when we make ourselves nothing so that someone who is feeling worthless can feel something of worth coming in. We don’t do it out of our neediness — quite the opposite — we do it out of strength that can come only from love.
Love is real when we love others with a love that works for them.
Love makes space for the needy to enter in, to dwell, and to be satisfied, on their own terms.
Love is not satisfied to be just a feeling. It works hard and wants the best for the other person.
© 2015 Steve Wickham.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Life, a Daring Adventure or Nothing At All

“Life is a daring adventure or nothing at all.”
— Helen Keller (1880–1968)
MOUNTAINS, God is in the practice of throwing them into the sea at our behest. (Matthew 21:21)
This is how it applies to your life and mine.
God will move nothing if we won’t move nothing. God will move mountains, however, when we move into his direction (by his direction) of obedience by faith. Here, the only thing we need to be careful of is not moving just for the sake of moving, which would be to mobilise under our own direction, alone.
To go ahead of God’s Spirit is go ahead of his will, and we can never expect his favour to be with us when we are out on our own.
But God invites every single one of us to a daring adventure.
God’s mission for each one of us is the magna carta of our time. Our Lord is so intrinsically interested in our lives that he will make of our lives a daring adventure. It is only when we resist God or are scared of what he’s making of our lives that we end up with no life at all.
The Spiritual Battle – Life is a Warfare
Now this is where the spiritual battle commences — our awareness of it — for it started long ago.
The enemy of God wants us stifled, to struggle endlessly, for life to be strangled.
Being aware that difficulties surround us in this life is confirmation of a spiritual dimension we might otherwise not be aware of. When we take life as a daring adventure, we can know in advance that the enemy may well ramp up the pressure on us; but Satan cannot cater for one magnificent idea:
When we are in the will of God we are actually untouchable.
We are untouchable in this: God knows the wiles of the enemy. When our lives are about God, when our lives are no longer about ourselves, we can joyfully sustain whatever pressure comes our way; we are no longer the point.
Living in this reality is the most daring adventure we can imagine.
As we move into the path of God’s being — his Presence with us — by our faith of obedience, we move into the territory of a daring adventure. When our life has become lost in order that we can find our true life, life is a daring adventure.
Simply put, when our personal life comes last and our loved ones come first, and when others, too, come to be first, even our enemies, we have entered the narrow way of Matthew 7:13-14.
When we embark on this narrow way we have embarked on a daring adventure. Finally life is no longer about us anymore! And finally God can do powerful things in and through us.
To obey God in life is to be granted passage on a daring adventure, the Holy Spirit at the helm. But resist God and our life capitulates and becomes only what we would complain about.
When we are touched by God’s Presence, by being in his will, the enemy cannot touch us.

© 2015 Steve Wickham.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Grieving for the One Who Has Betrayed or Abused You

“We mourn for those who cared for us the way they should have. We also mourn for those who did not give us the love we deserved.”
— K├╝bler-Ross & Kessler
RESENTMENT does not always die with death. Often it lingers. More is the pity.
But the truth is we can grieve for the person — who has died or has left — even if they have betrayed or abused us, or have done injustice to us. To grieve them is to give voice to a need within us, even if we vacillate between hating and loving them; or even if we cannot stand the thought of them, yet somehow we know we cannot get free of them.
Getting free is to grieve them. We grieve them how the Holy Spirit says we should: we grieve who they should have been and who they were.
We must let them go. Letting them go is about having nothing more against them. That, when it is achieved, is the freedom they and we have long sought and needed.
Mourning for those who did not give us what we deserved requires surrender. That is, to go against our anger into our sadness. That is, to stop for a moment of withholding love, in a way to project God’s love deep into the bitter visceral fissures of our being — to entreat our soul to healing. Be real about the sadness. It will take time.
Grieving the person who has cast an injustice toward us, knowingly or not, is a wisdom portion. It trusts God to do his work of healing so we can move on into acceptance.
There is little we can do to achieve the peace we need and deserve other than to immerse ourselves in that person’s brokenness who let us down. They were not all that God would have them be. Yet, neither are we.
As we recoil in the understanding that God knows and is acutely aware of what we’ve been through, we’re assured; life doesn’t need to end this way. Healing is our destiny.
The way to healing is simpler than we realise, but, of course, it’s not an overnight process.
God is giving us the routine opportunity to learn to surrender day after day after day to this situation that has us betwixt and between. Despite the pain there’s a purpose.
We see, the basic purpose of God is that we learn, in a very deep and real way, how to forgive. God has a unique way for us. Such a hard lesson can only be learned over time through the actual doing of it. And we do it without expectation of blessing.
What a humbling thing it is that we cannot control this process of being healed. We can only submit to it.
The blessings of freedom and peace will come in their own time and way.
It’s faith to trust God for the healing, freedom and peace we seek.

© 2015 Steve Wickham.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Enjoying the Goodness In the Moment

I HAD a vision on the way back from a catch-up with a friend. I saw my future where three years from then I’d look back with regretful fondness that I could no longer have fun times at the park with my then two-year-old son. This, out of the backdrop that I don’t always enjoy these times with my son, because I’m often too preoccupied by things that are actually insignificant.
We don’t enjoy the goodness implicit in every moment.
God has anointed the time and the day, and he has appointed them for us.
Yet, we take what God says is “good” and we make much ado of nothing, because our minds are kept busy and our hearts chase idols. Oh for some sheer, unadulterated perspective! The truth is, that perspective that seems so horrible is the self-same perspective that shapes us back toward God. When we see that we are far from God we are turned toward him in an instant.
We are far from God when we don’t enjoy the goodness in the moment.
This is not to say every moment is good, for many are too ghastly to imagine. But there is goodness even in the ghastly if we carry the Presence of God in there.
A simple illustration in authenticity:
The friend I caught up with helped me acknowledge this afresh. He was real. He shared from his heart. He shared his truth. Indeed, he shared what could only be God’s truth, because he had reflected long over what God had been saying. He shared his own weakness, pain and joy. And, he inspired me!
The goodness in the moment was the reality of being real.
And we may take that goodness into our moments by respecting the realities that ascribe themselves the larger part in our lives. Truth and peace coexist. When we give presence to the truth in our lives we come close to the experience of peace. This is shown to be true in the counselling experience: when our truth has been heard we feel better.
The goodness in the moment has been anointed for its time and day.
The goodness in the moment has been appointed for each of our moments.
The goodness in the moment is a powerful gospel truth — eternally available — even in fatigue, hopelessness, confusion and despair.
The goodness in the moment doesn’t change the truth of our moment, which may be horrendous and unchangeable. But it does challenge and change our perspective.
We are near to God, when, no matter the circumstance, we can enjoy the goodness in one living moment of eternality. Our lives are one long series of trillions of these moments.
Take a moment...

© 2015 Steve Wickham.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

The Eternal Disconnect In Loss and Its Connect to Healing

POSSIBLY the saddest of all articles I’ll ever write, this one is steeped also in a joy that all I want to do is describe. I write these words through tear-stained eyes lubricated with precious saline, chest heaving for one’s still recent loss, but able to see that through such a depth of eternity’s disconnect in loss, there is great joy for the hope set before me. I will see my son again.
Yet, my healing is not contingent on something I cannot experience now.
I am healed even as I connect with my loss.
My healing is set upon the very connection with my loss, which is the very eternal disconnection any of us who have lost a loved one know fully about. These two go magnificently together: a loss that cannot ever be redeemed and a healing that takes place as we take that grief into the heart of God.
The two are connected. And everyone needs to know about it. Loss is not the end. It is the beginning in terms of life truly having its correct bearing.
We are missing out on life until we have lived and loved and lost.
Only having lost have we come to know what it is like to go back to nothing.
To go back to nothing is to go back into the Godhead and to gain sense for oneness; for life without idols.
I never feel closer to God nowadays than going there by a very special ritual; to lament the true and eternal sadness that lingers wistfully in my soul for the loss of my second son. My Nathanael, you have given me so very much, and you continue to. And God, you make it possible.
As I pour out my heart, loneliness away from him who will not return to me combines with the safe and soul-soothing Presence of God; sorrow for what he and we went through intermingles with a soul-cleansing I’ve only ever known in my deepest pain.
We miss out on life until we have lived and loved and lost. The person who strides into the arena of life — with no thought to the pain of loss other than to go into it with God — reaps a rich reward. They do not go into the pain intrepidly, but deliberately, with their God. And God shows them something incredible.
Into the sadness we take the divine. Actually we go there with the Spirit who is already there. The harder, more gut-wrenching our pain, the more we ought to sense the healing touch of God. But we can only experience such a thing if we have lost our life in order to gain it. We might only understand that as a concept if we’ve been through it.
It’s possible that the deeper the pain of loss, the higher the heights of experience of God’s healing Presence.
The eternal disconnect in loss connects us with healing through God’s felt Presence.
Sit there and sob your tears knowing God feels with you; healing is yours, incoming.

© 2015 Steve Wickham.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

4 Commitments To Make That Will Make Your Life Work

PURPOSE is the pinnacle for a being with a heart for success, a mind for innovation, and a soul for contentment.
What I wish to do from the outset is to explain how a four-letter acronym (W.O.R.K.) might make life work through the humble virtue of industry: work. Making life work will require our sternest vow to make four commitments:
1.     The Commitment to WISDOM
Doing the right things at the right time and in the right way — making good decisions — is the glory of wisdom. Making a commitment to make good decisions — to commit to wisdom — requires diligence, that is to work hard, and prudence, which is to do the right work in the right way, no more, no less. Wisdom is the work of both action and inaction — in perfect unison, according to what is right. Just determining what is right is implicit of work.
2.    The Commitment to OBEDIENCE
God cannot favour the disobedient or the unfaithful. Yet, in an ironic twist, we, in our disobedience and unfaithfulness, can still be blessed if we turn! If we repent, which means to turn back to God and to his ways, and seek to know his will and then do it, we are now obedient. The past is gone and the new has come. The commitment to obedience is the commitment to work; to strive and toil hard to know and do God’s will. God will only bless the obedient. Obedience is not about words, it’s about actions.
3.    The Commit to RESILIENCE
Life works when we are resilient, for a resilient person has learned the law of rebounding back — not once, twice or three times, but seven times. If we can commit to rebounding seven times, by the time the seventh comes around we learn an incredibly important life lesson: failing, being defeated and rejected has no point if we give up. But their very point is palpable: we will ultimately succeed if we do not give up! If we can rebound seven times we can rebound eight, nine… twenty times.
4.    The Commitment to KINDNESS
There is no work worthier than kindness, and no love so grand and compassionate.
To be kind means we will have to get out of bed early or wait up late at night. We will need to drive further, walk longer, and serve with a smile even when it hurts. But a commitment to kindness leaves our greed so long back we have nothing else in sight but joy. The commitment of kindness is the commitment of work to love, and to keep on loving through the second, third and fourth miles. For every kindness offered God will give back, even though genuine kindness seeks nothing for itself. Life works when we are kind.
Four dimensions to the four corners of the globe; four commitments to the extension of godly character to the farthest reaches of hope. Wisdom, obedience, resilience and kindness are four commitments that work into the fabric of life to the extent of God’s favour, because God blesses the wise, the obedient, the resilient, and the kind.
If we are unafraid of work, and work can be our creative and tenacious endeavour, we will have a successful, innovative and contented life.
Work hard to make a life and you’ll find that it’s not so hard to make life work.

© 2015 Steve Wickham.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Open Your Gentle Soul to the Peaceful Life Abounding

SOULS are gentle parcels of spirit containing ether. They pare away from the body at life’s end and return to God, but every step of our journey we travel — body with soul.
The body is a vexation in so many ways — it aches and moans and groans. And don’t we put our bodies through so much! Even the vessel for the mind is part of the body — one’s brain. So, in many ways the body is its own worst enemy — it is the object and subject of much abuse. The body repays like for like; it feels good and it is good to itself, and if it feels bad it is bad to itself.
And all along the soul waits patiently for the body to respect itself.
As the soul watches on it is, of course, dismayed. It wants what is of God and of itself: peace. It knows it can only have peace if the body is at peace with itself. It knows that peace comes only from acceptance, from maturity, from being still, and from simply being.
The soul waits patiently, hardly murmuring a word. Until that is we begin to tear up.
The resulting emotion beckons the truth forward and, for just a short time, the truth is allowed to take centre stage. The soul is in its peace-lit element, despite the pain, just long enough to be appeased, and then, just as quickly, the lid is jammed shut on the emotions — “I’ll be all right, alright!” Truth scampers and so does peace.
Opening our ever-so-gentle soul to the peaceful life abounding is about honesty.
If we have the capacity to be honest, which is to allow the light of truth to break through the clouds of our inner darkness — our denials, and hurts, bitterness and bravado — then we approach peace and open space for our soul to rest.
Honesty is the key to feeling, which is the key to acceptance, which is the key to peace.
Only when we are honest about what we are feeling can we grow.
Being honest with our feelings is the key to peaceful stillness within.
The pain of honesty is sharp yet fleeting. We can bear it.
With courage comes the will and wherewithal to be honest.
Honesty is a soul’s best friend, as a friend is best when they’re honest. Our destiny is to be our soul’s best friend.
The soul honours truth because it knows truth precedes peace.
As the Old Book says, “Righteousness and peace kiss,” where righteousness and truth might as well be conjoined twins.

© 2015 Steve Wickham.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

The Importance of Depression In the Grief Cycle

INSIDE OUT (2015), the animated motion picture, highlighted the importance of validating sadness in the maturing of joy — a brand new, enhanced emotional ‘console’ was then available to the maturing Riley.
The character Joy had initially wanted Sadness controlled so as to not ‘infect’ good things for Riley; to protect her. Sadness was seen as a negative. But, at a point where Joy could do nothing to appease Bing Bong’s sadness, Sadness came to fore, as an empathising counsellor. Joy realised something — a flash of revelation — Sadness had a purpose, especially when life became irreconcilable.
Sadness, then, is no inferior or unacceptable emotion, as if in contention for Joy. Sadness is our truth at times. We are blessed to accept what is, feel it, and allow it to take us where we need to go — which is often into a conversation with someone like Sadness (or a counsellor) who might simply listen to and hear us.
Sadness is pivotal to be felt. If we do not feel our sadness, we do not travel all the way through our grief into the pleasantly clothed plains of acceptance. If we cannot traverse through sadness to acceptance, we will inevitably rebound the other way where denial, anger and bargaining are the only alternatives — and none of denial, anger or bargaining want to wrestle with truth. Only sadness can do that. Only sadness can lead us through our depression to joy.
If we were to get back to Inside Out, we might reason that denial is played by Fear, anger is played obviously by Anger, and bargaining is played by Disgust. We deny the truth when we fear it. We bargain because we are disgusted by the alternatives. If we get back into the movie Inside Out we can see what a botch of things Fear, Anger and Bargaining made of Riley’s life whilst Joy and Sadness were stuck out of HQ.
Without Sadness and Joy we travel in a shell of a life. We make decisions that appear to be good, but with vision only for what we feel in the moment (fear, anger and disgust), our decisions are poor, and that just leads to more denial, anger and bargaining.
The only hope we have is to tackle the truth, go into our sadness in a safe way, and trust it to take us to an accepting joy.
For depression then, as a fourth phase through grief, having travelled through denial, anger and bargaining, there is good news. We cannot get through to an acceptance of life as it is without feeling the force (the truth) of our emotions. Acceptance, when we reach it, shows us a new and better life than we could have imagined. We have new mastery over our emotions, which is the ability to plumb greater depths and ascend greater heights. The range between is deliciously voluminous when we have no fear, anger or disgust riding roughshod.
Joy is acceptance of the felt status quo. It sits there with the presenting emotion, not afraid of the sadness. Indeed, joy has made friends with sadness, where sadness will never again be unwelcome. Joy has learned that sadness enhances life, because where there is sadness there is truth. And only by venturing in the truth can we hope to be free.
Sadness will never kill us. We think we cannot bear sadness, but we can. When we go into our sadness accepting our status quo, taking God there with us, we hear him commend us for our fortitude. And if our sadness cannot keep us down — if we can honour it — then nothing can harm us. Then the enemy will flee!

© 2015 Steve Wickham.