Limbo is defined as: ‘ A condition of prolonged uncertainty or neglect’.
When I fall into ‘Limbo’, it feels as if I have fallen into the proverbial ‘rabbit-hole’.
Rabbit-hole is defined as: ‘Something that is intricate or convoluted like a labyrinth and often has no outlet or resolution’
It is definitely a time of uncertainty that does feel as if there is no outlet. Although I know such times always do pass, the feeling does not concur. An internal conflict develops between what I know to be true, and what I ‘feel’ is true.
I can search the Scriptures for God’s promises to assure me; I can remind myself of similar past times assuring myself that I always somehow climb back out. Yet, when in Limbo, I still feel stuck.
When I was a child, there was a huge snowstorm where I lived. Folks were unable to drive their cars. Our family, along with neighbors, had all ventured out along the road to walk to the nearest store which was approximately one mile away. The snow drifts were so high that one had reached the top of our garage door. I wanted to go visit my friend who lived across the street and I was able to make it about halfway when I discovered that I could go no further. The snow was piled so deeply that I simply could not take one more step. I was forced to go back the way I came.
There are times when we are faced with: ‘one step backwards, two steps forward’. Making the decision to take that step backwards can be frightening. We fear that if we change direction, we will be unable to again reverse course and move forward. However, if we force ourselves to move forward on a pathway on which we are blocked, we go nowhere.
Birthdays, anniversaries, ‘triggers’, etc., in our grief make us feel as if we are reversing course. They have a tendency to ‘take us back’ to a place we do not want to be. It’s a place of memories we often want to forget and understandably so. They are not always pleasant memories. They are filled with the dark side of our grief and are often excruciatingly painful. We simply do not want to ‘go there’. We often anticipate them with a sense of dread.
The reality, however, is that we can’t avoid them. If we are to move forward, we have to take that one step backward. Mulling it over can add to our distress. Anticipating the pain and the loss adds to our pain. The bottom line is that it is a situation in which we have no choice. Every year the birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, etc., occur. There is no escaping them.
Yet, we do have another choice.
We can decide in advance to take that step backwards and allow ourselves to once again embrace the pain of it all, while knowing that we will reverse course again and take two steps forward when we emerge from that state of Limbo.
It’s similar to a River. A River is constantly moving, forever changing, yet it remains constant in its existence.
Our Grief is like a River. We can try to stop it, attempt to dam it up, try and control its flow…but a River will continue to find its own way. Water always finds its own level.
It’s OK to take that step backwards. Often, if we don’t, we can’t take the steps forward. We don’t need to fear that by going backwards we will never again go forward. Like that River, we will find our own level. We will continue to flow even if temporarily diverted.
I, eventually, did make it over to my friend’s house that day. I found another way…and eventually, the snow did melt and warmer sunnier days once again emerged.
‘Limbo’ is a temporary state.
Proverbs 16: (NKJV)
A man’s heart plans his way,
But the Lord directs his steps.
(Excerpt from ‘Gifts from the Ashes’)
(((HUGS))) Jude Gibbs, Author
of ‘Gifts from the Ashes’ available at: Xulon Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and DeeperShopping. Additional international retailers: http://www.foyles.co.uk/witem/biography/gifts-from-the-ashes,jude-gibbs-9781498496728
Also, a Contributor on ‘The Mighty’: https://themighty.com/author/jude-gibbs/
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