Posts Tagged ‘grief’

I will begin this installment on the sixth principle of emotional health Embracing Grief and Loss with a confession: I have not been myself lately. I admit it. I’m coming apart and that’s a good thing. So much of my life has been invested in being the pastor of VX church that it seems unreal that we are closing. So unreal that I do not know how to be. And that speaks to me. It shows me how much being in this role has defined my life. I have defined myself by what I do. In the past few weeks I have gone from lethargic to hyperactive and back again. In fact the night before I had to preach on this topic I did not sleep at all. I couldn’t place my finger on it and blamed it on too much tea (that theory dissolved after I realized yerba mate has 1/3rd the caffeine of coffee). I have been forgetting things and remembering some things that have been long forgotten. On top of all this I have been trying on more new identities than a pampered rich girl tries on clothes in a Beverly Hills dressing room. To put it simply I have been grieving.

Grieving the fact that relationships will change. Grieving the fact that in a few Sunday morning I will have to choose where to go and what to do. Grieving the fact that I will be on the receiving side of a sermon side and not on the giving side. I am grieving the numerous inside jokes that have developed over the years. I am grieving over the fact that the world will not feel like it’s all on my shoulders and people won’t look to me to help solve their problems. Yes I will even grieve that.

Why? Because it is loss. It is change. In order to adjust to change we have to grieve over the reality that once was. People have been asking what is it like to make a decision to close a church. To be honest when we actually made the decision it was easy because I had prayed and thought about it for months. The hard part came after making the decision. Then my emotions caught up to me. That’s because any loss no matter how much it makes sense affects us in profound ways that we are unaware of. God gives us grieving time for the rest of our self to catch up with reality. I believe that’s why even though Sunday was coming…nothing big happened on the Saturday in between the crucifixion and the resurrection. Jesus’ family and friends cried and mourned their loss. The crowds were gone. There was silence in the grave. Saturday was uneventful but profound. In order to really embrace Sunday it was necessary to sit in Saturday. And that’s what I’m doing right now as I search for a new way to be. And the best thing that I can come up with is…be a child of God.

In past blogs I have let certain fallen preachers have it. As I sit and contemplate the recent death of Zachery Tims and the scandalous mystery surrounding his death (It is still not clear how he died) as well as his past (affair and divorce). I now realize that as angry as I have been at those who have fallen that anger has been misdirected and also sourced in fear. It has been misdirected because it is really a shield to hide my grief. It is a shield to protect me from the sadness I feel when someone I look up to has disappointed me and let me down. Deep down inside I want those who are in leadership to be flawless and perfect. The truth is they are not and that is reality. I have to accept it and grieve it. We as the church have placed our leaders on a pedestal and have not taken into account that they are men. They need to have good character. They need to have integrity. But we go beyond that and make them rock stars/celebrities/messiahs. The problem is when they don’t measure up we kick them when they fall under the weight of being a rock star/celebrity/messiahs.

At the same time my anger also springs from the fear that I will fall as well. It is a fear that I will become like those we see on TV and in the news. This fear is irrational as I am not living a rock star/celebrity lifestyle and precautions have been taken to not go that route. There are people surrounding me and practices that ground me in God. As I think about these things I realize that many of those who have met their ministry demise have not had these things and it causes me to grieve. Yes instead of pointing the finger I grieve…I grieve like David did for Jonathan and Saul:

How the mighty have fallen! The weapons of war are perished!
2 Samuel 1:27

David wrote a lament, a song of mourning for his fallen comrades. This includes Saul who had gotten outside the will of God and attempted to take David’s life numerous times. David still includes him because a fallen soldier is a fallen soldier. David also ordered that the people of Judah be taught this lament of the bow to remind future generations of how these fallen soldiers met their demise. Zachery Tims was a man of God who did many great things and blessed many in the community. No matter what the outcome of the investigation or the sins of his past..let us remember our fallen soldier.

Let us keep the Tims family and New Destiny Christian Center in prayer and as we do that let us not judge; point the finger; or even speculate on the circumstances surrounding his death but let us ask some questions of ourselves: Have we lifted our leaders on pedestals so high that we cannot see their humanity? Have we taken time to grieve over our fallen soldiers? Have we begun to teach future generations to avoid the traps that can lead to their demise?