Sunday, June 25, 2017

Recycling our pain

Joyce Sasse, Spiritual Gleanings - “I think it important we recycle our pain”, the woman on the radio told her interviewer. She had just received recognition for helping develop a police recruits’ training program on how to deliver devastating news to families of the deceased.

Some years previous she and her husband had taken an overseas holiday immediately after the wedding of their only son. That son had since been killed in an industrial accident, and his father (as next-of-kin) had to be informed. While the Canadian police were very aware this news should not be delivered over the phone, the local police simply knocked on the hotel door, checked the identification of the father, and instructed him to call a Canadian police number immediately.

As the couple wrestled with their grief, they realized it was important it was for them to find a way to move out from under their oppressive shroud of despair.

“We needed to recycle our grief”, she said as she talked about not stagnating in a pool of depression.

Use of the term ‘recycling” in this context grabbed my attention. How can we find a way to convert something from out of our past that has consumed us, into something constructive?

In the couple’s case, they also recognized how hard it was for police to have to deliver tragic news, and how often. Talking through the issues involved, workshopping what one might say, how to speak, how to listen, how to make the time –important considerations for both parties to the conversation. This was the work they committed themselves to do.

In our personal lives, might we follow this wise advice? When we have burdens that cling, that haunt us in the dark of night, that cause bouts of depression and despair – it may be appropriate to ask how we can recycle that pain. It is possible to lighten our burden by finding ways to direct our experience and energies in positive ways?

Wise advice for inhabitants in a world where life is a constant challenge!

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