by Major Eva Kleman, Finland and Estonia Territory
'Are you afraid of me?' she shouted while nearly spitting on my face. Despite being an officer for nearly 30 years I had to admit that her experience did scare me. But only her experience; for her inner beauty had not disappeared. It had just been challenged by unwarranted blame and guilt. She was tortured by her memory of a drunken father who abused his daughter and hit his wife all this hidden behind a beautiful suburban home. Years of pain were now just presenting themselves in the form of candid expression from this lovely young woman.
Major Eva Kleman
When sorrowful events occur in our lives, do we allow ourselves to grieve? What do we do to release our sadness? From my experience I know that feelings of sorrow don't go away by themselves; they don't just disappear like the morning mist.
There is always a moment of breakdown when I admit that I am not a superhuman. I start by sulking, then I get irritated, I start to cry, even scream and then comes the finale the dreaded stomach ache. Next I look for someone who can give me comfort and counsel. I realise it is all right to ask someone to help me process my thoughts.
I let myself grieve I don't worry about my reputation. I know that grieving allows me to constructively deal with my sorrow. And if I allow myself to grieve, I begin the process of healing and may encounter good experiences along the way.
Sorrows can leave us with bitter scars, or wounds that refuse to heal. If we don't deal with our grief our behaviour will eventually wound us and perhaps others. As women we are good at trying to hide our grief. We find other avenues of managing our grief. We resort to eating cookies, or become shopaholics. For some, more damaging results occur from mismanagement such as anorexia, bulimia, self-inflicted harm, or substance abuse. Still, these methods of coping are simply escapes from our depression. Running away doesn't really make us feel better. The relief we feel from these temporary remedies doesn't last for long and we need another 'pick-me-upper'. The cycle of addiction begins.
And when we do not let ourselves grieve, what trouble we make for ourselves! Sorrow mixes with self-defeat; we think we are not good enough and then start judging ourselves and others. We feel unworthy of another's praise; compliments are given yet not received.
But, God does not want any woman to dislike herself. He who created us in his own image thinks highly of us, his children. When Jesus sat with the woman at the well (John 4:5-42), he brought up different aspects of her life. He listened. This woman had a number of sorrows and disappointments. She was grieving for the life she did not have. Yet, Jesus didn't turn away from her or judge her because of her weaknesses or mistakes. Instead, he helped her to constructively handle her failure.
Let yourself deal with your own sorrows. It is all right to be weak for a moment. In your weakness, he is strong. When we learn how to grieve, we can really accomplish our mission to help others to accept their grief and to restore feelings of worth.