stages of grief & the loss of your god
Let me outline K√ºbler-Ross's 5 stages of grief. She initially used this model to describe stages she observed terminally ill patients experience. Since then her model has been applied to those who meet with grief or tragedy of any kind. Today I apply them to our feelings of the loss of god, usually provoked by tragedy of some kind‚Ä¶ physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual... when the god we believed in no longer suffices, no longer makes sense, no longer lives.
- Denial: This is a temporary defense to the initial shock, articulated in such thoughts as "This can't be happening! I'm losing faith. I'm being tempted. I just need to hold on and make it through this dark valley."
- Anger: Once we realize that denial can't be sustained, then feelings of outrage at our situation are expressed. "Why me? It's not fair! Who is to blame for this? Why did I let myself backslide? I need to change churches. How long oh Lord?"
- Bargaining: This stage is characterized by the hope that we can somehow postpone or avoid the inevitable. "I'll do anything to have things back the way they were! I'll go back to the basics. I'll ramp up my devotional life. I'll pray more, sin less, and God will return. I'll get people to pray for me so I can get my faith restored. I need a prophetic word."
- Depression: The certainty of the inevitable is finally admitted. This can be a very silent and solitary time when we begin to sever from attachments. "I can't do this. Why bother? It's all over. Everything was a lie. Life is pointless. Why go on?"
- Acceptance: We come to terms and even at peace with the inevitable. We can even experience serenity. "Everything's okay. I accept it. I will learn how to live fully and joyfully in this new mode of being."