Processing Disappointment #5


The adjustments I made yesterday were very helpful.  When Giver was guarding the door, the focus was protecting myself from pain delivered by people.  When I changed things up, I was able to go vertical and anticipate the gifts God might be delivering.

Very different perspective with different results.  The SLG population did not change overnight.  I still got some messy inputs today.  In fact, I got one of the worst inputs of all so far, but I also got one of the best.  When I looked at each one coming in as a potential gift from God, I found some fun stuff in general, so it was energizing to read the comments, not a walk in the minefield.

Now, back to the issue of disappointment.

The next step in the process is actually grieving the loss – feeling the sadness.  I have learned that this happens organically over time. Something bumps the sore spot, it comes to the front, and I have a choice to lean into it or to push it away.  In most cases, I need to stop and lean into it and feel the loss.

Here is how it works.  I was at home, minding my own business, chatting with Desiree, my photographer daughter.  She happily sent me a picture from her walk that evening.  And wouldn’t you know it, it was a picture of the full moon over her city.

Immediately I felt the wave of sadness at having missed the moon light paddle on the lake.  I rather abruptly got off the phone and lay on the couch allowing the sadness to flow over me.  I grieved the loss for a while until it faded.

This morning was nutty in many ways.  I was busier than a DID octopus on speed with utterly unexpected interruptions.  I was trying to revise one particular section of my Denver notes that means a whole lot to me.  I suddenly felt the disappointment over not having had the big blocks of uninterrupted time to craft elegant transition sentences in my head, try them on for size, then refine them some more.

I was not able to boot the interruptions out of my life like I did my daughter’s phone call, but I allowed myself to feel that loss for a while, during the other activities.

My experience is that this takes weeks or months, depending on the issue and is not something I need to orchestrate.  Life, God and the devil work together to bump the bruise a reasonable number of times.  As the sadness surfaces, I feel it.  On some occasions I can talk to someone about it, or write a kindred spirit and share, but most of the time, it is so unscripted, I just stop and taste the sadness by myself so as not to lose the moment.

Sometimes I have to force myself toward sadness.  I am looking at my fancy blue Osprey backpack that is still leaning against the wall where it got dumped the night I came back.  I know I need to empty it, put everything away, wash it, let it dry and store it.  That is going to stir up a truckload of sadness demanding to be felt.

I have been avoiding it because I didn’t want to invest the emotional energy, but I shall do it tomorrow, since I want to get to those sadnesses while they are still fresh, and not go to Denver with that still pending.

Over the course of time, the fourth step will gradually be done and the fifth step will slide into place unnoticed.

However, there are four more steps not in Kubler-Ross sequence I also need to work on.

Maybe tomorrow we can start those.

Copyright August 2016 by Arthur Burk

From the Hub

Comments

  1. kirstenalice says

    tenderly and authentically I say, “Thank you”. I must admit that I had put off reading the initial post as just the title itself brushed up my own disappointed places. I have been told from a young age that my expectations were too high and that is why I get disappointed. That has felt like a lie and I have not received it. However, the long journey of recognizing that compliments and truth spoken to me have bounced off became more evident and I have pressed in.
    Thank you for your vulnerability and willingness to open up this dialogue for the rest of us to join in and process and partner.
    As I read through all five posts today, I could feel my spirit start to vibrate with hope. It felt very similar to the first time I saw you on a dvd call someone’s spirit to attention and heard my spirit for the first time; she said, “oooh, pick me!”
    The interesting thing is that midway through this post, I received an expected text from my flaming Exhorter friend and it kicked up some pain. Ugh…then I read your suggestion to welcome the Exhorter. I need to chew on that and process what that looks like for me.
    So, may I say that I am immensely blessed by your heart, words, diagnostic bushwhacking abilities and am humbled by getting to reap and grow as I glean in the field.
    may our journeys continue… I look forward to the more!

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    • says

      Blessings on your journey as you fight the lies and tried to find solid footing for yourself in a wild and wacky world.

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  2. says

    Thanks for this series on disappointment. I have had the repeated tendency to not take disappointment well…the exhortation for mercies to do so “cheerfully” is well-spoken as it pertains to me. Going to email you a longer comment…for some reason I couldn’t get it to publish.

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  3. Noeleen says

    The process seems to be a lonely one. Either feeling the pain and withdrawing or being alone and thinking or remembering and processing. I don’t know if you’re able to feel the ‘with’ or ‘alongside’ of the ones who read this and cry as they experience your sadness when they read what you’ve written – as you open something to let them in.

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  4. Shauna Adair says

    As someone who is walking through my own season of disappointment and pain it is helpful and comforting in a sense, to be included in walking with someone else through theirs. I’m learning to lean in to the emotions of my pain (and joy) instead of stuffing them. My first thought is always, “it’s not that big a deal.” But, I remind myself that I want to expand my capacity for joy. And I know that in order to expand one way, I need to expand the other side of the continuum as well. I am so grateful that you have chosen to take the leap and process your disappointment in community. Thank you!

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    • Devorah R.G says

      Having to expand to both sides of the continuum simultaneously is SO TRUE! Great expression ❤

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    • Soo Fee says

      Another Scripture came to my mind again.
      Psalms 30:5 ……. weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.

      May you receive God’s comfort through the Holy Spirit, the SLG tribe, His creations in nature or any channels He chose to use.
      May you be comforted to know that the sadness is only here for a while, for joy is galloping on its way to take its place.

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  5. says

    I can imagine that it will be sad to unpack the backpack. I am so sorry and trust for big time redemption of the loss.

    You are an amazing person! The way YOU are YOU!

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  6. says

    Thank you, Arthur, for this whole process. A while ago, a prophetic friend of mine shared with me that God said my people are disappointed in Me. That statement haunted me. I am sorry that this happened to you. I think this event and the shiva concept and your processing this is HUGE. It is difficult for me following your pain. My spirit and I care so much for you. Shiva is one of my gifts that the enemy has severely beaten me up for. So I am crying for you and will be breathing life into my shiva gift and sending it your way.

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  7. says

    I am a teacher. I have found learning life lessons and disappointments hard. Feeling my own feelings is hard for me so I have much respect for you in been able to hold your emotions and feel through them.
    I am still learning this skill. Disappointments get me down and into a depression swirl sometimes because I get caught in the “should have been” kind of scenario.
    Thank you for sharing your process as it is very valuable learning curve for me as well how to see things from another’s point of view and not always wanting to “rescue” or “solve” the disappointment but just “be” with the person. and ask Father what he wants to do and not what I think should be done.

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  8. says

    Wow. Thanks for sharing your journey. Am very challenged. 36 years ago as a freshie Christian, tried counselling, wasn’t helpful, but instead found a mighty counsellor in Jesus who walked us through and healed us of a lot of stuff, reframing my past so I could view it differently. So my husband and I put counselling in the “doesn’t work for us” box. Took 30 years to try it again, didn’t give us anything to help with what we were facing but nice people and we ended up encouraging them instead. So came away feeling good, but the “counselling doesn’t work for us” was reconfirmed. Now am rethinking it all and prepared to go on the journey to see if there are any errant thugs needing educating.

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  9. Devorah R.G says

    Rejoicing in your definitive progress, and praying for the redemptive synergy of raw and elegant expressions for your cherished seminar.

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  10. Karibu says

    Arthur, reading the description of the Denver event as “high-energy” releases lots of empathy from me. I know how hard it can be to be in a place of processing disappointment and yet have to be “on”. I’m praying that God will bless you with an incredible time in Denver and will use the disappointment to add a magnificent flavor to the event, while also using the event to help you process through this disappointment.

    I also want to celebrate you for not sitting in judgment of God throughout this process. I know that it’s easy for me to make that leap when I process deep disappointment and I also know how bad that leap is to make both in terms of processing the event and the ripple impacts.

    I grieve with you through this disappointment, for felt losses, for missed expectations, and for the longing of what could have been.

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  11. Maggie says

    What comes to me today Arthur is this exquisite pain of your loss because of your infinitely unfathomable longing for God. You will experience this beauty and your physical involvement with it again I feel, maybe in a different land and time scenario. It will come though.

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  12. Janis Leal says

    I appreciate your categorization of grieving moments, whether as sad spots “bumped,” or whether sitting there waiting to be dealt with, like your backpack. Occurring organically, yet often at inopportune times (like in the grocery store, or in the middle of a sentence, or….), sometimes those “bumps” must necessarily be “packed away” for a more practical processing time. But grieve we must, so it doesn’t consume the heart.

    In a major grieving process now with the most significant loss ever in my own life, I’m also grateful for the sheer simplicity of your message. In the ebb and flow of sadness as it’s orchestrated naturally, I can’t even imagine experiencing “the sadness demanding to be felt” (I love that phrase) without the Faithful One and Comforter as I “stop and taste the sadness by myself” (I love that phrase, too). Without our Rock and Consolation, darkness would prevail, but praise the One who loves us that “…even the darkness is not dark to You; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with You.” (Psalm 139:12)

    Thank you for your simple but powerful message. And I do hope you share about the four steps not in the Kubler-Ross sequence you plan to work on. Blessings on your journey.

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  13. Kristan Matoska says

    Dear Arthur,
    I commend you for seizing the moment the grief appears and allowing yourself to experience it. I was told to do that when my Dad passed away. It was the best advice because I found that those moments can’t be recovered and if I could just go with it, it produced the deepest release and healing. Thank you for sharing your journey.

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    • says

      Coming from a family that extolled the “virtue” of stuffing and not feeling, it represents a massive shift in values and learned skills over the years. Thanks for sharing your story.

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      • says

        You just described my family, and, I think, the entire religious culture around me. Have you written on how to make that shift? Is it necessary to leave the culture, or can the culture be changed?

        I’m so hopeful that this gamble you took (to process disappointment in community) works. It’s a selfish hope, I admit – because if it works for you, then maybe that process will lay the groundwork for success for me.

        Fighting the “THISISNOTGOINGTOWORKWEHAVEBEENDOWNTHISPATHBEFORE” with you….

        ~ Lorena

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        • says

          Umm . . . Lorena, I have wandered all over the country and back in the last few blogs. Can you clarify what the snapshot of your family looks like, so I know which one to respond to?

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          • says

            Sure – I was referring to what you said in the comment I replied to, above: “Coming from a family that extolled the “virtue” of stuffing and not feeling, it represents a massive shift in values and learned skills over the years.”

            I was wondering if you’d written on how to make that shift? Is it necessary to leave the culture, or can the culture be changed?

            Thanks!
            ~ Lorena

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            • says

              Ah. I see. It is usually difficult for one person to change a culture. They can to a significant degree change their values within the culture — and thereby become a source of irritation to the culture. In my case, I had to leave the culture and slowly, awkwardly, since I didn’t know what I was doing, create a new set of values and learn to walk in them.

              Liked by 1 person

              • says

                Thanks. That’s the direction we’ve been leaning, but struggling against the accusation of “quitting” by leaving a culture. And learning how to feel and appropriately express emotions, well that’s a journey.

                ~ Lorena

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              • Maggie says

                I studied method acting once and was saved not long after. This Stanislavsky method refers to the use of “emotion memory” which is why my motivation is to be authentic.Thisfor me is about making the “fleshing out” of the Word of God in my life as I become a real authentic follower of Jesus..so much digging has He been doing in me lately, pulling out old weeds of fake Christian cultural behaviour….addressing these deep grief moments and finding some gems of joy there somewhere.Thanks for your approach Arthur, its just reality as opposed to religion. Embracing authentic emotion whether good or bad is a way of life.

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  14. Rebekah says

    Ya know what I love about you, Arthur. You are not afraid of things that don’t make since. You are not afraid of feeling your own emotions or of giving place to sadness. You are not afraid those emotions will trap you in a place of doubt, depression, or despair. You feel it all, yet don’t sit in judgment on God. You feel it all against the backdrop of His faithfulness. You choose to do the hard work in yourself before you give to others, rather than stuffing it till a later date while you try to be “strong” for others. There is something very regal about that.

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    • says

      Certainly. The Sapphire stone is my symbol of the faithfulness of God. Everything that comes through my life is adjudicated by His faithfulness. That is my bedrock core anchoring truth.

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  15. Paullette Boorman says

    thanks Arthur this and Broken dreams have helped a lot. Still processing a lot of pain myself.
    Bless as you unpack and process.

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