Gary's blog for couples and parents plus resources for individuals, leaders and churches.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

GUEST POST- Jackie Sinclair: Grieving Lessons From My Phone

Computers and smart phones have revolutionized our lives.  I sometimes have said that my brain is now in my phone and I can get panicky when I lose track of my devices.  On the other hand, there are times when technology can be downright frustrating.  My iPhone seems to crawl or my battery is dying before noon.  A quick Google search will bring lists of suggestions to get better performance. 

As it turns out some apps run silently in the background allowing them to be ready in an instant if we need them.  The downside is that they are constantly sapping battery life and eventually slowing down the processing.   In many apps this option can be turned off but other utilities must remain running for the proper operation.

About 7 months ago my brother was diagnosed with a recurrence of colon cancer.  In spite of aggressive treatment it became obvious that the cancer was moving quickly and there would be no cure.  Last Friday, May 29, 2015 he passed into eternity surrounded by his wife and grown children.  We will all miss him deeply.

Over the past months I have found myself increasingly distracted, forgetful and unmotivated.  And since his death it seems that even small tasks and decision-making have become more difficult even when I was not actively thinking about him.    

Yesterday it occurred to me that my grief was like an app running in the background of my life, depleting my energy and decreasing my thinking process.  Even though other parts of my life were going on without obvious problems, the grief was there (sometimes silent and other times intense) and it will continue to affect my life in some way for a long time to come.  

As I thought about it more, what is true for grief is also true for other negative events in our lives.  Even when we aren’t dwelling on them they are always there, running in the background and still affecting us. Unfortunately these negative events can’t be turned off with the swipe of a finger.   They are a part of our life that cannot be changed.

So what do we do in the meantime?

First, take the time to evaluate what pain or negative circumstances may be running behind the scenes in your life.  Sometimes we can do a good job of hiding those wounds, even from ourselves. 

Next, evaluate what is essential and which things threaten to drain your emotional battery. What commitments can temporarily be put aside to allow yourself more energy to deal with the loss? 

And lastly, give yourself grace and time to heal.  There is no correct timetable to get past grief.   Allow people to help.  This is often as important for them as it is for you.

Much like our electronic devices, it pays to do a periodic maintenance and assessment of our emotional health and life responsibilities.  It just may keep us from running out of critical energy at a time when we need it the most.

Gary Sinclair Writer | Speaker | Leader

Gary is currently a consultant, teacher, speaker and chaplain providing resources for families, leaders and churches.