Monday, January 23, 2012

Loss of a Loved One

I realize this is a delicate subject. And I want to say that I would like to offer perspective that may be helpful and that I hope it doesn't sound critical or judgmental in any way. I offer it in hopes that you might prayerfully receive some insight that may make a difference in your life.

Generally when we lose a loved one, that person becomes the entire focus of our thoughts and actions, sometimes to the exclusion of many much more important things. The reason I'm even thinking about this is a result of reading Stephen R. Covey's book, "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People." In his chapter on "Begin with the End in Mind," he talks about discovering the center of our focus, from which we find balance and harmony in our lives. Covey cites several examples of the kinds of centers we may focus on. I believe these are all dynamic rather than static and that we can be focusing on one or more at one time and when we least expect it, we discover that our center of focus has changed completely.

So let's explore what might happen when we lose a loved one. If there were unresolved issues with that person, we will probably find ourselves watching mental "reruns." Those "reruns" can sap us of a great deal of emotional energy. And that usually also results in our having less physical energy. Even the most mundane chores may seem like insurmountable obstacles. And we find it difficult to escape those "reruns" because there is no more time to resolve that unresolved issue or issues.

Sometimes a husband and wife have not been close - one may have offended the other and there is a lack of forgiveness on the part of the offended one. I have met people who have been so upset with their spouse that they wished them dead. Then if the spouse dies, they experience an enormous burden of guilt. Since there is no way of resolving the conflict now that the other person is gone, that person begins to occupy the "center" of focus of the spouse who is still living.

The same thing can happen between a parent and a child. Perhaps there were harsh words and then one dies before resolution and restitution can happen.

Perhaps the relationship was one of co-dependence and the living party in that relationship is completely overwhelmed by responsibilities they had depended upon the other for. The living person may be angry at the other for dying.

Maybe the circumstances of death were particularly tragic. The loss may be magnified by this. The person left to live his or her life without the other may play "scripts" over and over in anger at God or at whoever they perceive may have been responsible for the tragic death. Often they blame themselves.

There are many other possible circumstances that could cause a person who has suffered the loss of a loved one to place that person in the center of focus of their lives, usually without realizing it or intending to do so.

I believe there is power in understanding the dynamic of what may be happening to you. If you are in such a situation, it would be helpful to read books or listen to recordings of others telling their experiences and how they got past the pain and the overwhelming feeling of loss that never seems to go away.

When we lost our son without even knowing what might have happened to him, I experienced that pain and loss and could not imagine ever getting past it and living a normal life again. Our book tells the miraculous story of how God healed my heart with a healing so deep, it amazed even me. Perhaps reading, Aloha is Forever would help you.

In any case, to get back to the center of focus that brings your life into balance and harmony is a goal worth fighting for - unless, of course, you love being at the center of a pity party for the rest of your life.

This same principle applies to a multitude of circumstances, not just loss of a loved one. It may be loss of a job, a home, divorce, a major disappointment, an unwise decision, anything that has come into your life to claim center position and get you focusing on something you cannot go back and change.

Even though I understand and try to implement these principles, I find myself occasionally falling into the victim trap. It's helpful to me to have something that will jog my thinking and enable me to recognize what is happening. I hope that perhaps it will be helpful to you, too.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


I've been reading Stephen R. Covey's book, "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People" and it has been giving me plenty of food for thought. In fact, after reading a few pages the other day about identifying your "center" in the chapter titled, "Begin with the End in Mind," it really got me thinking! What is my center? And even more importantly, how does focusing on the wrong thing or things impact my life and the lives of those around me?

I think I can honestly say that for the greater part of my life, Christ has been my center of focus. But there have been times when I have allowed other things to creep into that central position. I'm sure there have been times when I've allowed a particular person (usually a perceived enemy), money, possessions, physical location, the opinions of others, jealousy, my family, work, etc to occupy that center of focus. It's a subtle thing! And when it happens decisions are made that are later regretted, time is lost that could have been used in much more productive and helpful pursuits and life even at times seems to fall into general disarray.

So I'm thankful when God allows something to come into my life that jerks my focus back onto Jesus Christ, the living Word of God. Life just seems to make a whole lot more sense that way!

How about you? Have you ever read Stephen Covey's book? Did it help you determine who or what is the center of your world?

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Quotable Quotes

"What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us."
                                                                                    Oliver Wendell Holmes