Not everyone has a “faith,” as in believing in a “higher power” or God per se, but I believe we all have a spiritual aspect that is separate and apart from our emotions, that must be considered when we are trying to cope and to heal with deep grief in our lives because someone we love has chosen the dark path. When we are separated from someone we care about greatly or when someone we love deeply is going down a dangerous path, we grieve and our body and minds are stressed.
I am a Christian, and my faith has been severely tried by my ordeal with my son, first the robberies, and then the murder he was arrested for in 1992. In the end, though, my faith was strengthened by what I went through.
Here at Family Arrested we honor all faiths, even those who don’t subscribe to their even being a “higher power.”
Even if you do not believe the Bible is the inspired word of God, there is a tremendous amount of good advice there for living a more peaceful life, good examples of what we should do to help ourselves, and what we should not do.
Unfortunately, in many cases, and in my own family, the teachings of the Bible were I think distorted by some people in my family with an agenda of their own. Verses were taken out of context and used try to equate “forgiveness” with “forgetting” when as I see now, they are not the same. Sure, the evil doer would love to tell you that if you do not pretend that they have not done wrong, and allow them to continue to do wrong, then you are going straight to hell because you didn’t “forgive.” (meaning pretend nothing happened.)
Forgiveness is not about the “Other” and they don’t have to repent for us to forgive, it is about us. About getting the poison of bitterness out of our souls, healing ourselves. Carrying around hate and bitterness is like, as someone once said, “drinking poison and expecting someone else to die.”
Anger is not, as some might tell you, a bad thing or a sin. Jesus was angry with the men in the Temple, and made a whip of cords to drive them out. The anger of Jesus made him act against bad behavior. Anger is a natural response to being injured or outraged. Jesus said “be ye angry and sin not.” In other words, it’s okay to be angry, but not to use your anger as an excuse to do bad things.
Feeding anger so that it continues unabated is not good, though. Jesus said “do not let the sun go down upon your wrath.” I always equated the word “wrath” with just being another word for “anger” but it is more. Wrath is “festering anger” that has gone on for some time, and has become toxic to the person who holds on to it. So the advice of Jesus is good psychological sense. Don’t harbor that anger, and don’t feed it so that it continues unabated. Resolve it. Let it cause you to act in an appropriate response, then let it go.
Look deep into yourself when you find yourself in the depths of despair in the dark days when your heart is breaking and find that spiritual corner, that spiritual belief and feeling, and tap into that. It is there, even if you don’t know it, so find it and let it sustain you for just that moment.
I read not only the Bible but the writings about various faiths and beliefs and the Buddhists have meditated for centuries as part of their belief system. Meditation per se is not just a religious exercise, but has been shown by scientific research to actually be a wonderful tool for psychological healing, and studies are showing now that it actually helps the brain repair some of the damage done to it by stress and trauma.
“Mindful mediation” is an excellent generic (non religious) kind of meditation and is exceptionally simple to learn. There are many low cost books and CDS at www.Amazon.com to help you get started. Meditation will help you regain peace in your life, slow down your brain, and help you heal.
Whatever your beliefs, find that spiritual core and hold on to it tightly. It will help you survive those dark days and give you strength.