Barbara Taylor Brown in her chapter on Dark Emotions draws from Miriam Greenspan's book Healing Through the Dark Emotions: The Wisdom of Grief, Fear, and Despair. Medically, the time allowed for grieving - not sleeping, sadness, crying, loss of appetite - is two months. If someone grieves the loss of a loved one for longer, they could be diagnosed with depression and possibly treated with prescription medication. Greenspan, a psychiatrist herself, calls this a low tolerance for sadness. The inability to bear these emotions often cause many of our problems she says, not the emotions themselves.
How long is too long to grieve the loss of your spouse, your child, your friend? How long is too long to grieve death in war, genocide, and violent crime? Two months the doctors say. Two months. If you don't move on, you might need medication.
I think I have grieved the death of my father for the eleven years he has been gone. I wish I could have d…
We read Barbara Brown Taylor's book Learning to Walk in the Dark for book club. I was first drawn to it because the description talked about the absence of God. I have long considered the idea that God is often absent - from our lives and the life of the world.
I don't fully understand what this absence means - maybe it is true that God is present in his absence. But it is good to hear people who validate the absence - whether God is, or is not present, we certainly don't always feel his presence.
There is more to be learned on this I am sure.
For now, I want to talk about sadness.
If you've read my blog you might have seen that I use the word a lot along with grief, fear, and despair. And of course, struggle. I have wanted very much to not feel these emotions. I have wanted very much to be happy, joyful, ecstatic even. These latter, lighter emotions don't come easily to me. Or maybe they are locked away somewhere so deep that when they come to the surface they ar…
I came across Joan Baez's song, God is God last year. The song was written by Steve Earle.
I feel close to the song. It helps me put words to what I have come to understand and it carries me along in my journey.
Every day that passes I'm sure about a little bit less.
One thing that has definitely happened over the years is that I cannot believe everything I was taught. A lot of the language of my early Christian upbringing doesn't mean much to me any more.
I remember telling my brother when he asked me what I believed that I was not very sure. All I knew is that I needed an open space. I needed to be able to breathe and be free. The Christianity I once knew put me in a box and limited me, limited my learning, limited my experience.
I don't like limits.
I have come to believe that I don't really need to be sure. I don't need to know everything and I am OK with saying that I don't really know much at all. And that it doesn't really matter. I don't ne…
Like darkness itself, the dark night of the soul means different things to different people. Some use the phrase to describe the time following a great loss, while others remember it as the time leading up to a difficult decision. Whatever the circumstances, what the stories have in common is their description of a time when the soul was severely tested, often to the point of losing faith, by circumstances beyond all control. No one chooses the dark night; the dark night descends. When it does the reality that troubles the soul most is the apparent absence of God.
- Barbara Brown Taylor, Learning to Walk in the Dark, p133-134
I have been thinking about the Absence of God for a while now. Thinking that…