Our team works closely together, ever desiring to sharpen and challenge ourselves as therapists. One of the ways we do this is by sharing and listening to Podcasts. Adam Young’s Podcast, The Place We Find Ourselves, is one we all particularly enjoy. In one of the episodes Adam talks about the path to healing and uses what a colleague of his calls a U-diagram to illustrate this process.
Today is the day after Good Friday and the day before Resurrection Sunday. This weekend is a big deal for Christians in that the crux of our faith hinges on the death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is chock full of meaning, however we won’t be entering in to all of the implications of this here nor now. We will peer into this Holy Weekend in an attempt to learn something about ourselves…about healing.
Friday afternoon Jesus dies. He is laid in a tomb.
And then, Saturday.
Disciples huddling in an upper room.
My husband calls it the “longest Saturday.”
I Peter 4:6 refers to Jesus taking “good tidings to the dead.” The Apostles’ Creed reads at one point, “He descended into hell…” It is believed that on that Saturday, Jesus descended to Sheol, or hell, and set prisoner’s free. He descended before the ultimate ascension.
So what does this have to do with you and me? Or with counseling?
Not just the loss of loved ones from this earth but the loss of a relationship, a divorce, a miscarriage, an abortion, infertility, our innocence stolen, abuse, parents who never really saw us or tended to our hearts. Loss of dreams: marriage, children, an end to a career, an illness, financial ruin…it could go on and on. So often, when we face death, we attempt to jump from the Death of Friday to the Resurrection of Sunday. Many times when I initially sit with clients they will say something like, “Okay, how do I fix this?” I often put my head back and say, “I wish there were a quick fix or a prescription to write that would magically take away your pain, but no…it takes entering in to grief, awareness of pain, emotions appropriate to our stories…all part of the descension.”
The first step towards healing is recognizing and naming our losses. Often, unbeknownst to us, these not-yet-grieved stories are driving more of our lives than we know. We may be scared of closeness again, or we may run to busyness, addictions, perfectionism, workaholism…all in an effort to keep at bay the underlying pain we may only unconsciously know is there.
After naming and honoring our losses we begin the descent. This is allowing the normal emotions to rise…sadness, fear, anger, betrayal…emotions that are God-given and meant to be entered into.
This is where counselors come in.
One of the greatest honors we experience as therapists is sitting with you during this descent. It is truly sacred ground which we do not take lightly. The sacred ground which leads to healing…freedom…new life.
Jesus could have died on Friday and rose on Saturday. He also did not just lay in the tomb but went and “descended into hell.”
How willing are we? Are we intent on healing? Do we long for things to change, to be different?
It will take work. It will take facing your pain and accepting all that means. A certain descent into things as they are and not as we would have them.
No quick fix.
However, Sunday will come and it’s okay if we are still in the middle of Saturday.
Learn more about the author, Maggie Jobson here.