Grieving is dreaming in reverse

By Dave Henning / March 7, 2021

“Grieving is dreaming in reverse. . . .  But when you are grieving something or someone that was taken away, you wish you could go back in time.  You dream in reverse.  Instead of hoping for what will one day be, you long for a more innocent time when you lived more unaware of tragedy.  The griever knows they can’t go back in time.  So healing feels impossible, because circumstances feel unchangeable.”- Lysa TerKeurst

In Chapter 8 (“Unchangeable Feels Unforgivable”) of Forgiving What You Can’t Forget, Lysa TerKeurst talks about what sometimes happens when you view your offender’s actions as unchangeable.  As a result, it quite possibly makes the charge to change your perspective as unreasonable.  Because it’s hard to wrap hopeful perspectives around an absolutely permanent outcome.  And at times you find the lingering aftereffects the hardest to forgive.

Hence, Lysa presents a list of unchangeable situations.  Three on her list resonate with me.  When:

  1. the hurt feels so great to me but the one who hurt me acts indifferent to the situation.
  2. the outcome seems so final I can’t get my bearings for how to go on.
  3. the reminders of the pain never end, because I still do life with the one who hurt me.

Above all, Lysa observes, these statements pulsate with pain and loss.  In addition, they carry a grief so deep it’s quite maddening to think forgiveness should apply here.

In conclusion, Lysa admits forgiveness is hard, but a good step to take.  She writes:

“While I will be the first in line to raise my hand and admit forgiveness is a hard step to take, it’s also the only step that leads to anything good.  Every other choice — including the choice not to do anything and remain where we are — just adds more hurt upon hurt.”

Next, the author discusses five truths she’s learned to hang on to in her heart when she struggles toward forgiveness.

Today’s question: Do you find yourself grieving and dreaming in reverse?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Sin always masquerades as fun and games”

About the author

Dave Henning

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