Letting Go, Part 4: Grief

Posted on 04/12/2015 by Rev. Benjamin R. Faust D.D.

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TRANSCRIPT: (does not contain everything found in the audio above)

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YOU ALONE

I will bow down
hail you as king
I will serve you
give you everything

I will lift up
my eyes to your throne
I will trust you
I will trust you alone

I will give you all my worship
I will give you all my praise
You alone I long to worship
You alone are worthy of my praise


MAKES ME WANT TO SHOUT

When I think about the Lord
how he saved me, how he raised me
How he filled me with the Holy Ghost
He healed me to the uttermost

When I think about the Lord
how he picked me up, turned me around
How he set my feet on solid ground

Makes me want to shout
Hallelujah, thank you Jesus!
Lord you're worthy
of all the glory
and all the honor
and all the praise!


I'M AMAZED BY YOU

You dance over me
while I am unaware
You sing all around
but I never hear the sound

Lord I'm amazed by You
Lord I'm amazed by You
Lord I'm amazed by You
how you love me

You paint the morning sky
with miracles in mind
My hope will always stand
for you hold me in your hand

How deep (how deep)
How wide (how wide)
How great (how great)
is your love for me


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For the past few weeks,
with the exception of
last week which was
Resurrection Sunday,
we've been talking about
Letting Go.

We've covered
(letting go of)
(lgo) Fear,
(lgo) Guilt and Blame,
and
(lgo) Shame.

And today,
let's continue
this discussion,
and talk about

Letting Go,
Part 4:
Grief


Grief is
a deep sorrow,
a mourning,
usually in response
to the loss
of someone
held dear.

And while it is
generally thought of
as something bad,
grief simply IS.

In fact, in
our feel-good
society,
we tend to
cover up grief
with thoughts
or activities
that help us
not feel so bad.

And that
suppressed grief
lodges in the heart,
obstructing the flow
of unconditional,
non-conceptual
love.


In the book of Genesis,
we find the story of Joseph.
His father Jacob
loved him dearly,
but his brothers?
Not so much.

In fact, they were
going to kill him,
but one of his
brothers convinced
them to think of
something else,
so they sold him
into slavery instead.

Now,
they couldn't just
tell their father,
when he asked
about where
Joseph was,

"Well dad,
we sold him
as a slave.
No big deal."

So instead,
they killed
an animal,
and dipped
Joseph's coat
into its blood.

Let's pick up
the story from there.

Genesis 37:32-35 (NKJV)

32 Then they sent the tunic of many colors, and they brought it to their father and said, "We have found this. Do you know whether it is your son's tunic or not?"
33 And he recognized it and said, "It is my son's tunic. A wild beast has devoured him. Without doubt Joseph is torn to pieces."
34 Then Jacob tore his clothes, put sackcloth on his waist, and mourned for his son many days.
35 And all his sons and all his daughters arose to comfort him; but he refused to be comforted, and he said, "For I shall go down into the grave to my son in mourning." Thus his father wept for him.


Grief fills the heart,
and if it gets stuck,
or pushed down,
the heart retains
that blockage,
and life can
no longer
freely flow.

Perhaps that is why,
in the Jewish culture,
mourning was celebrated.

There was a period
of time set aside
for mourning.
And it was mourning
on steroids,
you could say.

And when the time
for mourning
came to an end,
life went on.

So there was
an unspoken expectation
that one would
hold on to the grief
and fully feel it
with all their being.

And then,
they would let it go.

Of course,
the letting go
didn't necessarily
happen.

But,
it was a
really good
idea.


So what happens
with grief today?

Well, we try to
make people
feel better.

We try to
give them comfort.

And that's fine.

The Holy Spirit,
after all,
is our comforter,
is He not?

And in Matthew 5:4,
Jesus says,
"Blessed are those who mourn,
for they shall be comforted."

But the truth is,
when people have grief,
they need to mourn.

True mourning
is the expression
of the inner feeling
of grief.

Fully feeling it.
Fully expressing it.
Fully letting it be,
without trying to
make it go away.

And if you've
experienced grief,
but you have not
allowed yourself
to fully feel it,
express it, and
let it exist as it is,
then chances are
it's still stuck
somewhere inside.

And it most certainly
is impeding the flow
of Love and Life.

And today,
the invitation
is to become
free.



We run away from
negative feelings,
but at the same time,
we give energy
to the generation
of those feelings,
which are kept alive
by compulsive thinking.

So the mind
generates feelings
of grief,
and at the same time,
the mind
covers up those feelings
and labels them as bad.

Which turns them
into an emotional cancer
that eats away
at the inner fountains
of Love and Life.

Or you could say,
it blocks that flow
like a rock slide.

It causes
emotional debris,
and often polutes
the Life flow
that does get through.

As Proverbs 4:23 (KMV) says,

"Keep watch over your heart with all diligence, for out of it flow the springs of life."


And let's not
get all hung up
on the word "heart."

If I'm not mistaken,
that is translated
in another language
as "kidneys."

What this means
is basically the center.

So in other words,
keep inwardly
clean and clear,
because Life,
like a river,
flows from within.

And to keep emotions
from getting stuck
and blocking
the flow of Life,
you learn to
stay present.

When a feeling comes,
whether it is
something small, or
overwealming grief,
accept that it is.

Allow it to be.

Don't fight against it.

Don't try to
cover it up.

Of course it's helpful
if you don't keep
generating the feeling
with thoughts;
or more accurately,
you don't stay
inside the head
giving the mind
the attention and power
to keep dwelling
on thoughts
that generate
the feelings.

This requires honesty
with yourself.

Are you addicted
to those feelings?

Maybe without knowing it?

Of course no one
CONSCIOUSLY
wants to feel bad.

But we unknowlingly
become addicted
to the emotional energy.

The emotions
are not expressed,
and are constantly fed,
and they grow
into a creature
almost with
a mind of its own.

When someone
drinks too much alcohol,
or encounters a situation
that resonates with
that trapped emotion,
they can some times
seem like a completely
different person.

Almost like they're
possessed by that
emotional creature.

And the truth is,
they ARE.

But you can be free.


Most of us are familiar
with this passage from
Isaiah chapter 53,
but let's take
another look,
and see if there is
anything we might
have missed that
could apply to
our topic today.

Isaiah 53:4-6 (NKJV)

4 Surely He has borne our griefs
And carried our sorrows;
Yet we esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten by God, and afflicted.
5 But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray;
We have turned, every one, to his own way;
And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.


Okay.
Did you catch it?

Of course we
think we understand
verse five:

"He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
the chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
and by His stripes we are healed."

And we claim
freedom from and
forgiveness for sin,
healing from
sickness and disease,
whether inside,
outside,
or both,
and the peace
that His sacrifice
bought for us.

But we started reading
with these words:

"He has borne our griefs,
and carried our sorrows."

What does that mean?

Well,
you're probably familiar
with 1 Thessalonians 4:13

13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope.

There's no need
for me to expound
upon that now.

But just the knowledge
that death is not the end,
can help the grieving
to not be so bitter.

HOWEVER,
even with that
mental knowledge,
we still get
the emotion of grief
stuck inside,
and it blocks
the river of Life
from flowing
clean and free.

But Jesus has
borne our griefs,
and carried our sorrows.

Just like the sicknesses
and the sins
that He carried
to the cross,
He also took
our griefs and
our sorrows.

So when
the feelings of grief
arise, and
waves of sorrow
wash over you,
what do you do?

Do you go
into your head
for comfort?

I thought
the Spirit and
the Presence
of GOD
was supposed
to be our
comforter.

Do you go
into your head
and think about
how you should
NOT be feeling
those feelings
because Jesus
already bore them?

Well,
go ahead and do that
if you want to
make those emotions
a sad, repressed
creature inside of you
that possesses you
from time to time
in strange and
destructive ways.

OR,
you could just
allow the feeling
to be as it is.

Experience it fully.

Express it freely.

Don't think about it,
or make it grow
by entertaining
the mind's chatter
about it.

But let it flow.

Embrace it.

Go deeply into it.

And see what happens to it.


You just might find
that it is transmuted
into something else.

You just might find
it is cleansing,
and freeing,
and that Life
and Love
flow with it,
becoming one
with it.

Be Present with it.
Without labeling it.
Without conceptualizing it.
Just feel it fully.
And let it flow.

Not in an attempt
to change it,
or to escape it,
but just to feel it,
with no reason
whatsoever.

The same way
a fully content person
would feel the sunshine
on his face, or
the cool rain
falling on her shoulders,
or the chilly wind
stinging their cheeks.

Just feeling it.

Just because it is.

Just letting it be
as it is,
without trying
to change it.

That contentment,
rooted in the peace
of being fully present
in the temple of God,
brings true freedom,
and keeps that emotion
from blocking the flow
of the Life and Love
found the in eternal
present moment,
here with God.


And I'd like to close
with this verse from
Revelation 21:4 (NKJV)

4 And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.

We do have that promise.

And this will happen
as a direct result
of the unhindered
Presence of God.

But remember:
the Kingdom of God
is inside of you,
and the God of the Kingdom
has filled your body
with His Holy Presence.

And when you dwell there,
in the present eternal,
or "the heavenlies,"
that same Presence
does what Presence does:

It wipes away every tear.

It removes the
illusion of death.

It transforms sorrow
and grieving
from heavy burdens
into fleeting waves,
that come as they come,
and pass through you,
unhindered,
not resisted
or held onto mentally
so as to solidify
inside the temple,
but freely allowed
to completely come
and completely go.

And only the
never-ending
and all-pervasive
Peace and Joy
remain.