Friday, July 5, 2013

When a Parish Church Folds

Multiple parish churches are closing these days as they consolidate buildings, among other resources and human personnel.
The hearts of the faithful break, for sure.

Grieving is the normal and natural process by which a person makes a healthy adjustment to any significant loss in his or her life.

This process takes as long as one year to move through the ebb and flow of the tides.  It is more than the smooth passage of a straight line.

It involves ten stages, including normal and acute grief.  Mourning shows itself outwardly, while grief stirs within.

Shock involves numbness, disbelief, even denial as the bottom falls out of one's world, so to speak.

Tears, cursing and expression of mutliple feelings follow as emotional releases.

Sleep and normal patterns of life are altered by way of physical body manifestations.

A long blacck tunnel ensues with suicidal ideations and questioning of whether one will ever recover in this depression/panic and detaching stage.

Guilt follows with wonderment about how one was involved in the loss.  Reality is questioned as well as whether one can forgive self or others.

Hostility and anger, even rage is directed toward others.  Unhealed wounds are projected on to others.  That's is why counseling is critical to be healed by the grace of God.  What one refused to feel or talk through is left festering as wounds will.

Idealization emerges about the past that seemed perfect.  The future offers little hope, grievers admit.

One begins to realize that the past had its faults, and the future is welcomed.

Images of the past loom away now as fresh patterns develop.

One begins to live with the loss. 

Healthy adjustment recognizes the loss.  It is no longer disturbed by it.

Grief work gives way to a stronger individual given the experience.

Parishioners walk through this process alone and with others who can navigate the ache, thank God!

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