In his book, A Grace Disguised, Jerry Sittser tells the story of how three members of his family were taken in one tragic car accident. This is what he said about loss after experiencing his own:
We live life as if it were a motion picture. Loss turns life into a snapshot. The movement stops; everything freezes. We find ourselves looking at picture albums to remember the motion picture of our lives that once was but can no longer be.
Loss turns life into a snapshot. That’s an interesting analogy. Lenore Terr, author of Too Scared to Cry, uses another film analogy:
The memory of trauma is shot with higher intensity light than is ordinary memory. And the film doesn’t seem to disintegrate with the usual half-life of ordinary film. Only the best lenses are used, lenses that will pick up every last detail, every line, every wrinkle, and every fleck. There is more detail picked up during traumatic events than one would expect from the naked eye under ordinary circumstances.
That’s what happened with Sittser. His life was moving along fine, like a motion picture, until the car crash. Then he was handed a snapshot of loss to always remind him of what once was but can no longer be.
He comments on how anger relates to loss:
Anger is simply another way of deflecting the pain, holding it off, fighting back at it. But the pain of loss is unrelenting. It stalks and chases until it catches us. It is as persistent as wind on the prairies, as constant as cold in the Antarctic, as erosive as a spring flood.
Maybe that has happened to you. Trauma can mean the death of a loved one, the loss of your job/ministry, the end of a marriage, a miscarriage, or any kind of life altering setback. Remember it’s not just the loss that sends you into exile. It’s the secondary losses associated with the loss.
Many people live with the unrealistic belief that they live in an impervious bubble that protects them. Other people are subject to the cruelties of life. Not them.
So what are some of the secondary losses of trauma? One of the biggest losses is the sudden realization that life is not safe and predictable; you have no control. You are vulnerable to the whims of nature and the choices other people make.
Many people live with the unrealistic belief that they live in an impervious bubble that protects them. Other people are subject to the cruelties of life. Not them. When trauma strikes, that bubble bursts and it can send a person reeling. Not only is there a loss of a sense of safety and control but often a loss of faith. Why would God let this to happen?
What kind of snapshots have you been holding in your hand that have kept you in an emotional exile? Leave a comment below. And please share this on Facebook.