How do you handle a situation when what you were hoping would happen doesn’t occur? It is a tough situation, especially coming to the point when you tell yourself that you need to make a choice. I think how we handle this says something about us as individuals. High character means you take the high road.
Kubler-Ross’ model for dealing with grief has been discussed for years. I think it is a pattern all of us follow when dealing with disappointment. First we deny reality. No I am not getting a divorce, he/she is coming back. Or, no I did not just lose my job. My boss is going to come back and tell me I am not getting laid off. It doesn’t make any difference what the situation is we deny reality at times. This is neither bad nor good, it just is.
Then we get angry. How could this person do this to me? The company doesn’t know what it is losing? Can’t they, whoever they are, see that this person is destroying what could be? So we get angry. The anger motivates us to bargain. If this then I will. This is usually a conversation we have with the spouses that are leaving us, or even God. God if you heal my marriage I will do this. Or if you bring my daughter back, I will do this and that.
After this doesn’t occur then we get depressed. This is how is will be, my life is over. Or, I wallow in the depression because it is just. I should feel this way, or I am a bad person and this is what I deserve. Eventually, and hopefully sooner than later, we emerge from the dungeon of despair, and accept. This is it, this is what I have to live with, now what do I do about it.
I recently went through this process again. I have now come to the conclusion that changing a particular situation in which I find myself, actually there are a couple, that I am powerless to change. People are presenting truth as something different than reality, and I either have to accept that this is the way it is or do something else. I think this is a good place to be. It is a place of growth.
Yesterday in Church Pastor Don was teaching us about Israel’s wandering through the desert. The reason for this wandering was the lack of faith in God. They were angry because of the hardships they were facing on their way to the promised land. Instead of accepting and trusting, they grumbled and complained. “We are sick of Manna, we need meat.” So God gave them meat, so much that it was “coming out of their nostrils.” (I know the issue of faith was bigger than this one event, but it illustrates where we as humans operate.)
Acceptance and trust is a good place to be, and it is one where I am starting the week. I am resigned to the reality of my moment, but I am not discouraged. I am elated to see what God will do in my life as I accept and trust. You know what, it must be Monday!
And that is another cathartic thought for the day.