We spent twenty-six days “in exile.” I think it’s time to head home. In the remaining days I want to give you some practical ideas how to find your way out of exile.
The first step is to simply NAME it.
One of the reasons I called this series “out of exile” is because I want to give you a name for your season of loss. Last year I spoke some of these ideas at my home church. Someone stopped me and said, “Thank you for this series,” as if I knew what she meant. I asked why she liked it and she said, “I guess it just helps to have a name for what I’ve been going through.”
…most people think that someone has to die in order to grieve so they never think to apply traditional grief and loss remedies. Naming your loss “exile” gives you permission to realize you have a common problem that has concrete solutions.
That’s true, isn’t it? It’s like going to the doctor when you are sick and they tell you you’ve got the latest Asian flu. There’s nothing you can do about it but some how it helps to give it a name. It helps to know that you aren’t abnormal or imagining things. What you’ve got is common to all people and you’ll eventually get over it.
For example, last spring I suddenly lost a lot of energy. In fact, it caused me to stop blogging for a number of months. I didn’t know what was wrong. There were a few Sunday’s that I couldn’t stand to speak at church so I sat through my sermons. Before I spoke I felt so depleted I just wanted to cry. I had all the blood tests done but nothing was found.
Around here, when you can’t find a diagnosis, people assume it must be Lyme’s disease…a mysterious disease brought on by being bitten by woodticks. So I started researching that. It really bothered me to not KNOW what was wrong. I remember thinking, I don’t care what I have. I just want to know what it is. Just tell me so I can deal with it. (I never did find what was wrong. After two months my strength returned.)
That’s how we feel emotionally too. It helps to have a name for what we experience. Technically, what I’ve been talking about is traditional grief and loss issues. But most people think that someone has to die to grieve so they never think to apply traditional grief and loss remedies. Naming your loss “exile” gives you permission to realize you have a common problem that has concrete solutions.
As I mentioned early on, you can end up in exile for a variety of reasons. It might be your fault, the fault of others, the calling of God, or just the way the chips fall in your life. But even though the causes are different, the lessons learned are often the same.
Now that you have a name for your loss, you can do something about it. Come back to learn what that is. (I’ve listed a number of related posts on grief and loss below that might get you started.)
Does it help you to have a name for the loss you’ve experienced? Leave your thoughts below.