By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept when we remembered Zion.
"I just wish things would go back to normal... go back to the way they use to be!" This is a common reaction to whenever we experience loss and yearn for what has become the old normal. This is the experience to which the Psalmist is speaking. The life transition that the experience of loss ushers into our lives is the journey to the new normal.
But what is normal? How do we define what is normal in life? One way that I have found helpful to define normal is through the 4 R's: routines, rituals, roles, and relationships. When we experience loss through death, an illness, or divorce each of these R's, routines, rituals, roles, and relationships, is affected and affected deeply for some time into the future. Loss creates changes in the 4 R's in many different ways.
Entering the holiday season any one of us who has experienced a loss understands how rituals such as Thanksgiving and Christmas activate our grief and a longing for the old normal. Rituals that once brought happiness, comfort, and joy become markers of who and what was lost and a possible sense of being lost and not knowing what to do. "I just wish things would go back to normal...go back to the way they use to be!"
If this describes you and you are wondering how to navigate the holidays I would like to invite you to attend Safe Harbor.Stephen Ministry is hosting a luncheon for folks who have experienced a death, loss due to illness, or divorce following worship this coming Sunday, December 2 in the Great Hall. We will share a meal and Neal will lead a discussion on how to cope with the various emotions that arise during the holiday season. As you journey toward your new normal it can be helpful to share your experience with others who are on a similar journey.
Click here for more information. If you will be joining me at Safe Harbor please RSVP to me at firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday, November 30.