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  • Writer's pictureSerena Johnson

This phrase was coined by an author and poet named Stephen Levine and it struck me since the first day I read these words. He writes that "unattended sorrow is a secret wellspring of love begging to be acknowledged and fully felt". Have you refused to acknowledge your sorrow by denying them or delaying the process of it?

That question is worth pondering for a minute. Many times we don't even realize that we have not allowed ourselves to process the losses that we have occurred through the years whether that be by death or a symbolic loss.

Take a moment to look back over your life and stop and ask yourself if there are any unattended sorrows. What aches have I suppressed?

Because until we process our losses, we might find it hard to life a life "wholly without pain" ~Stephen Levine.

We all desire to live fulfilling lives capable of resilience, hope and peace right? Unattended sorrows weave in and manifest itsself in all areas of our lives in ways that we may not even recognize. It can surface as doubt, anger, jealousy, fear, resentment, and chronic physical ailments. Unattended sorrows cause us more suffering than the actual pain of our loss.

The first step to healing for most of us is the acknowledgement of our sorrow. We get closer to true healing when we invite Jesus to enter into the spaces of our pain with awareness, grace & mercy. The mercy that is needed is actually us extending mercy to ourselves. We are so hard on ourselves when we've suffered loss- we fight to get back to normal, we stuff or self medicate our grief away... everything but face it. We need to show ourselves mercy, compassion and forgiveness, in order to turn towards our pain in an effort to heal. Towards our pain... is different than fighting or flighting. In order to attend to our sorrows, we must turn towards our pain.

We have a natural resistance against pain and are unwilling to experience anything unpleasant. We ALL do it! Some of us put off dentist appointments for fear of oral procedures, avoid doctors visits for the discomfort of poking and proding due to blood work, put off confronting a loved one about something we're offended by and avoid going certain places due to the heckticness of rush hour. We avoid unpleasant experiences and pains at all costs!

With the Lord's help, we must learn to open our hearts to the pain that we have avoided in order to heal. Unattended sorrow doesn't just reside in a space of our hearts but our minds as well, leaving us powerless at times because of it's un-dending knocking.

There is such a place called "the other side of grief", where your sorrows don't wipe you out each time you grieve. Where you'll wake up to fully embrace the beauty of life after loss. There will come a day, as you attend to your sorrows, that you'll be able to remove the load of the "Great Sadness", as talked about in The Shack (an American movie & novel). Mack, a character from The Shack, was in such great despair after the kidnapping and murder of his daughter.

Mack dealt with such intense and prolonged anger, guilt and unforgiveness that it depleted the life from his soul. His unattended sorrows caused him such pain and suffering. It wasn't until he entered into his pain with the Lord, with mercy and grace that he was able to find healing.

I encourage you all to do the same today. I know I had to take this same step over 3 1/2 years ago because I was drowning due to my unattended sorrow. You don't have to tend to your sorrows alone. I invited the Lord into every aspect of my journey and my heart has had the greatest companion of comfort.

And for that I'm forever grateful!


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