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Sunday, April 6, 2014

What If I Don’t Feel?


FEELING nothing, certainly from an emotional sense, when there is grief all about us, involves us in the concerning aspect of guilt. Why am I not feeling emotional? Why am I not feeling sad and heartbroken about this loss that has occurred? Why do I feel so cold?

What is perplexing – the fact that we are cold – and that any pain we may feel may be driven out of guilt for not being as compassionate as we think we should be – is also totally understandable.

All these things of the emotions are a complete mystery to all of us, even to the scholars, if we are honest about it. It’s not that we have no idea what is going on; it’s precisely the opposite – there is too much going on and there can be many more than one simplistic answer for why we don’t feel as we thought we would. Certainly, as we anticipated we would feel a certain way, and now we have found our emotions have surprised us, we are apt to feel confused, even a betrayer.

Where our thinking can be understood and even explained, very often our feelings cannot be. Our feelings are what they are. If we are presented with a sorrowful circumstance – the loss of a loved one – and very much, loss in general – or a significant adjustment – and don’t feel as we thought we should it is best not to fret. There is no use in becoming overwhelmed over that which we cannot control.

We know our hearts, and, as far as it comes to loss and compassion, we trust our hearts. Because we have loved, we are cut to the heart, even though the feelings lag. God will allow us to grieve in our own way, in our own time. We will not miss out in the expression of our real emotions. This is simply another area we need to trust God. It’s best not to be angry about missing out on our feelings. Feelings come. They come when we are most open.

Our feelings ought to be trusted in this way; we have less control over them than our thoughts and, therefore, we place our feelings before the altar of God, and simply ask him to heal us.

***

Too easily we judge and condemn ourselves for not feeling as we think we should feel, especially when it comes to loss. Thinking can be explained, but not so much our feelings. Instead of feeling guilty or angry for not feeling, we just rest. God will help us feel at the appropriate time, in the appropriate way. It’s about trust.

© 2014 S. J. Wickham.

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