30
May

Slow Reader Thursday: A Grace Disguised

stone cross

I have a rather large pile of books in my office waiting on me to read them for this blog post each week and I have to admit that I tend to just grab one from the pile when I’m finished with the previous book. For some odd reason (I prefer to think of it as divine.) I have managed to choose two books back-to-back that focus on loss and death. Last week I reviewed Tuesdays with Morrie which discussed the dying process of Morris Schwartz, a man with ALS. This week I turned to A Grace Disguised by Jerry Sittser. While Jerry Sittser did not go through the dying process himself, he probably wished he could after suffering the loss of three family members all on one night.

Jerry Sittser was forced to look after three small children on his own and to figure out what to make of the great loss he faced. While these losses attracted a great deal of attention, Sittser felt alone in his grief and the heavy responsibilities that befell him. However, rather than choosing to ignore or hide from his pain, he chose to dive head first into it and work towards making sense of it. He managed to succeed and to raise those three children successfully. He chose to ask God for help, even when he wasn’t sure He wanted to believe in a God who would take three people from him so haphazardly.

Sittser is quick to say that he blew it a great deal of the time, but his willingness to explore his thoughts, foibles and grief led to the writing of this book and led to him being able to help others who were facing their own versions of horror and grief.

He explains things far better than I ever could–here are a few examples:

1.”Catastrophic loss wreaks destruction like a massive flood. It is unrelenting, unforgiving, and uncontrollable, brutally erosive to body, mind, and spirit.”

2.”It is therefore not true that we become less through loss–unless we allow the loss to make us less, grinding our soul down until there is nothing left but an external self entirely under the control of circumstances. Loss can also make us more. In the darkness we can still find the light. In death we can also find life. It depends on the choices we make.”

3. “Many people form addictions after they experience loss. Loss disrupts and destroys the orderliness and familiarity of their world. They feel such desperation and disorientation in the face of this obliteration of order that they go berserk on binges. They saturate their senses with anything that will satisfy them in the moment because they cannot bear to think about the long-term consequences of loss….So they drink too much alcohol, go on a sexual rampage, eat constantly or spend their money carelessly. In so doing, they hold suffering at a distance.”

Loss and grief are inevitable parts of living on planet Earth. We can either choose to embrace it and delve into its horrible depths and learn from it or be destroyed by it. Sittser makes a convincing, compassionate and human case for doing the former. Every one of us should read this book and embrace, yes embrace, the journey of grief and loss, for reaching the “destination” is well worth the journey.

Point to Ponder Challenge: What losses are going on in your life right now? Are you running from them? Are you diving into their darkness and letting yourself grieve fully? If not, schedule some time today to think about these losses and allow yourself to fully feel the weight of its sadness, unfairness, and waste. What can you learn from this nastiness? Do you need help from someone you trust? Do you need professional assistance? If so, take one step out of the darkness right now and find that person. Make a date with that person to talk over how you’re feeling. You’re worth it!

 

This entry was posted on Thursday, May 30th, 2013 at 6:50 am and is filed under Slow Reader Friday. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

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