• Brandon Carleton

Why Grieving Is So Important

About five years ago my phone stopped ringing. Texts stopped coming. Rumors started flying. My circle of friends slowly started to disappear.

Most of my friends were friends I made through attending church and a lot of them were fellow pastors, spread out around the midwest. So when I left evangelicalism behind, it didn’t take long for me to feel completely alienated me my entire social circle. My wife and I quickly found ourselves alone. The kicker was, we had alienated all of our non-christian friends, so we didn’t have friends no matter which way we turned.

I’ve recently begun the process of grieving the loss of those friends. I didn’t realize until recently that I’ve been repressing all of the hurt and pain that came with losing so many people who were close to me. There were easily twenty people who I once saw as my closest friends, who quite suddenly stopped talking to me. I haven’t spoken to any of them in over five years.

What I can say is this: The people I've met on this side of the journey have made it that season of loneliness worth it. They are some of the kindest, nicest, most loving, and most accepting people I've ever met. The cherry on top is how they don’t see my changing beliefs as a reason to end our friendship. But losing all of those friends years ago—people who I truly loved—still stings.

It is in our nature to avoid grieving at all costs. And that is exactly what happens—it costs us. It costs us our joy, our peace, and even a good night's rest.

This, I’m learning, is the hard work of being human: We must walk into the darkness and sit with our grief.

We all have repressed, unresolved grief, which is understandable because repressing is the easy thing to do. Denying that you are hurt requires no effort, but facing our darkness is difficult. To make matters worse, grief is sneaky and elusive. Grief will do its best to hide from us and remain unseen, so we must be diligent about seeking it out.

In order to make it through our day, our brains will tuck grief away into the corners of our mind. So it just ends up sitting there, weighing us down, while we lament, “I don’t know why I keep losing my temper so easily.” (Okay maybe that example is a little specific to me, ha!) It is incredibly important for us to acknowledge and process our grief, because if we don't it will slowly eat away at our lives.

I don’t know what it looks like for you to address your grief. Maybe it looks like spending some time with a counselor or a therapist, but whatever you do, go in search of your grief. It won’t feel like it at first, but you’ll be better for it.


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