ISAIAH 61:1-4

ISAIAH 61:1-4

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me and has anointed me to
Preach the good news to the poor. .
Bind up the brokenhearted,
Proclaim freedom for the captives,
Proclaim release from darkness for the prisoners,
Comfort all who mourn
Provide for those who grieve in Zion to bestow on them
The oil of gladness for mourning
And a garment of praise for a spirit of heaviness

Saturday, August 5, 2006

A Page from my scrapbook - Budapest, Hungary, 1998

I just checked out the site meter and am always thrilled to see readers from places like Budapest, Hungary; Malasia; Ontario, Canada; Portugal; Spain; as well as places in the U.S. from Rhode Island to California; Texas to Michigan. Drop me a line here or through

"Elizabeth Kubler-Ross in her book On Death and Dying, Macmilan Publishing Company, 1968, presents 5 stages a patient goes through upon learning about their terminal illness. She presents them as "an attempt to summarize what we have learned from our dying patients in terms of coping mechanisms at the time of a terminal illness." The five stages have since been dubbed the five stages of grief, but originally she called them "Five Stages of Receiving Catastrophic News."

Denial and Isolation

Most of you are probably familiar with these five stages as they are well accepted in the professional community. However, I have noted that those who work with grief counseling are aware that these first five stages are just the tip of the ice berg. Or as Kubler-Ross originally labeled the list, they are the five stages of receiving the news. At that point, the stage of acceptance, grief begins.

TLC Group in Dallas, Texas uses an interesting analogy from everyday exerience to explain the five stages.

One day you head out the door to go to work and the car won't start.
  1. DENIAL --- What's the first thing you do? You try to start it again! And again. You may check to make sure the radio, heater, lights, etc. are off and then..., try again.
  2. ANGER --- "%$@^##& car!", "I should have junked you years ago." Did you slam your hand on the steering wheel? I have. "I should just leave you out in the rain and let you rust."
  3. BARGAINING --- (realizing that you're going to be late for work)..., "Oh please car, if you will just start one more time I promise I'll buy you a brand new battery, get a tune up, new tires, belts and hoses, and keep you in perfect working condition.
  4. DEPRESSION --- "Oh God, what am I going to do. I'm going to be late for work. I give up. My job is at risk and I don't really care any more. What's the use".
  5. ACCEPTANCE --- "Ok. It's dead. Guess I had better call the Auto Club or find another way to work. Time to get on with my day; I'll deal with this later."
We can all relate to the dealing with daily losses. And...have inevitably come across people in daily life who are in the "Anger" phase and take it out on the nearest object - sometimes the nearest unsuspecting person.

That happened to me the other day. I was angry about something...a perceived loss...and while sitting at a stop sign waiting for cross traffic to break, some woman drove up behind me and hit my car. Granted, it was a very light bump, but a bump none the less. Most days I would have glanced in the mirror and driven off. On this day, however, I got out of the car, walked back to check my bumper (which was not the least dented and I knew it wouldn't be).

The other woman must have been in the denial stage, "I just barely bumped you. There's no damage," in a why-are-you-making-a-big-deal-out-of-this-tone.

"Fine. Just go around bumping into everyone." was my brilliant sally as I jumped back in my car and drove off. (Of course by now there was no cross traffic.)

It's funny now (especially when you consider that my car is a well-driven, 10-year old with enough dings in it to qualify for a derby), though a little embarrassing to admit. It wasn't funny that day.

How often do we run into people in the course of our lives whose reactions we don't understand? There's a quote often attributed to Native American Folk Wisdom or sometimes to Will Rogers (I couldn't verify either source) "never judge your neighbor until you've walked a mile in his moccasins." We are so good at hiding our pain behind a mask of anger, indifference or belligerence.

bel·lig·er·ence Pronunciation Key (b-ljr-ns)
n. A hostile or warlike attitude, nature, or inclination; belligerency

And take care to save your belligerence for Spiritual Warfare. We know who deserves our anger -- and it's not the unfortunate neighbor who rocks your boat a bit (or bumps your car).

Enough for one day. I'll save coping with Grief when one has come to accept an calamitous situation another day.

Do let me hear from you!!

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