Hide-Away-Housekeeping

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Perhaps you have done this. The week has gotten away from you. Friends are coming over and the house is a wreck. You glance around and clothes are piled on top of the hamper. Your mail is stacked on the entryway table. The sink is full of dirty dishes. Toys are strewn about the family room floor. What can you possibly do to turn things around quickly? You put into action the age-old tradition of Hide-Away-Housekeeping.

Clothes are either tucked into the hamper or thrown on the floor of the closet. The mail is dumped into a drawer. The dishwasher is quickly stacked with dirty dishes. The array of toys disappear into an empty laundry basket and hidden in the kids’ closet. Using the Hide-Away-Housekeeping method allows you to successfully whip your house into shape so it is presentable to your friends. The truth is a secret and you fool everyone around you.

Walking through grief, you may be tempted to use this technique in order to make your life look neat and clean to the outside world that is looking in. While you feel as if your world is chaotic and lacking any sense of order, you fake it to show you have your act together. When you really feel as if you will fall apart at any moment with tears and emotions threatening to burst forth, you assure others you are fine and pretend your feelings are under control.

Though you are uncertain how to survive each new day, you paste a smile on your face and put one foot in front of the other so no one will know. Compartmentalizing your life as you journey through grief by not allowing people to see your pain may make sense to you. However, you are missing out on allowing others to step in and help you with support and encouragement because they think you are no longer dealing with the hurt and effects of loss.

There are advantages to being honest with yourself and with others when it comes to your needs. By letting people experience your grief with you, they not only know how to help you better, but they may be more prepared to face losses of their own when they arise. And they will arise. Everyone faces loss at some point in life. Taking the Hide-Away-Housekeeping approach fails to show what walking through grief is really like. While it may seem like a good idea at the moment, there will be a time when hiding the ugliness and pain catches up with you and you are forced to again face your loss later down the road.

It is better to be thorough when dealing with grief. Be honest and brave enough to admit your pain. Only by going through the hurt and anguish brought on by grief can you learn to move forward and eventually leave much of the pain behind. Addressing your needs and taking time to face sorrow will prevent surprises later on in the future.

Hide-Away-Housekeeping can cause you to forget where you stashed that pile of clean clothes or cause you to lose a bill or two in the scurry. In the same way, some day you may turn around and realize that a statement by someone or being forced to face another loss has triggered more pain than before. The wounds that you thought were gone and taken care of are now multiplied and messier than ever.

Do your best to admit to your needs and lean into your pain. If you are really having a good day, by all means proclaim that with joy and a smile. However, if you find yourself struggling and having a sad day, there is nothing wrong with being honest if someone inquires how you are doing. It may not always be a pretty picture, but it will the best one to present.

Until next time –

Karen

Choose to give hope to someone in your life today. Share Grief Letters with those you know walking through loss and sadness. This devotion book is filled with lessons learned from my own journey as well as suggested activities written to help achieve forward progress through grief.

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Grief Letters By Karen Bransgrove, Published by WestBow Press. You can order here.

Hardcover | 6 x 9 in | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869674

Softcover | 6 x 9 in | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869667

E-Book | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869650

Also available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

A Little Messy

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A couple of weeks ago at work, it was discovered that someone had failed to push the coffee pot all the way back on the hot plate while brewing a fresh pot. As a result, the coffee flowed from the top spout and down the outside of the pot, instead of inside as intended. By the time the mistake was caught, hot coffee had made its way all along the counter, under the microwave, even pouring into the cabinet drawers on the other side of the counter space. The kitchen was certainly a little messy.

Journeying through life is a little like that coffee station. When we are not positioned correctly, things can get a little messy. What is a correct posture of grief? While each journey is unique and will look differently for everyone, there are some common points to consider.

One posture of grief that you should be prepared for is change. Upon the death of a loved one, life is bound to look differently. The hole left by the absence of a person is real and gaping. Whether your loss is sudden or you have seen its approach for a while now, it changes your life and you face the challenge of learning to discover and live a new “normal” life. Their loss tends to make your life a little messy while taking you on a different, undesired path.

Another helpful posture is to appreciate that we ache much because we love much. Even though it hurts to say good-bye, even if for a little while, your life has been shaped by the relationship you had with your loved one. Trust that their impact on your life served a purpose. Be willing to step into the mess of the pain. Dealing with the sting of loss now will aid you in advancing in your grief journey.

Being willing to move forward leads to a final point. Your grief is a passage, not a place to stay. It is vital that you not stop the flow of grief as you process and maneuver the messiness of your difficult path. As you move onward, you will see progress. Be assured and encouraged that you still have a very real purpose in life. You may not understand what that is at the moment. At those times of doubt, it must be enough to trust and believe that there is indeed a purpose and continue to seek it.

“Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” Colossians 3:2 (ESV) Even when things get a little messy, embrace your journey. There are times we need a little mess to appreciate the beauty on the other side.

Until next time –

Karen

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Grief Letters By Karen Bransgrove, Published by WestBow Press. You can order at link below:

http://bookstore.westbowpress.com/Author/Default.aspx?BookworksSId=SKU-000980156

Hardcover | 6 x 9 in | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869674

Softcover | 6 x 9 in | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869667

E-Book | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869650

Also available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.