Five years ago, I sat in my brother's hospital room, reeling from a diagnosis no one expected. Shock filled the air and threatened to paralyze me with every breath. And the tears, tears that had been frozen for years came pouring down my face.
Me: I'm so sorry, Matthew. I can't stop crying.
Matt: Amanda, this is how you are supposed to grieve. You are supposed to cry. I don't want you not to cry. Don't go down that other road.
Me: I nodded my head, eyes big, tears unchecked.
Matt: Promise me, whatever this looks like, you will take time to process and do this right.
Me: I promise.
My brother had witnessed the emotional fallout of glossing over our parents' death, burying myself in action, and the resulting disaster area created by years of refusing to process. His selflessness in calling me out was a gift I will cherish—and remember.
Processing—to treat or prepare by some series of actions
Whether you are graduating from college, celebrating a milestone, welcoming a new addition to the family, or grieving the presence of a loved one, processing change is a vital step toward intentional adjustment.
You see, I know, because I've hopped, skipped, and jumped right over-processing, and the end result is unpreparedness, which leads to reactions based on emotions, and over time functioning on pure feeling is a recipe for disaster.
Everyone processes differently. I take walks—lots and lots of steps. And when I walk, I think, pray, and process.
Every step is time to ask/answer burning questions, but important ones. What have I gained? What have I lost? What void is filled/created?
But you can walk through a situation without literally walking. My son plays basketball out in the driveway. My husband flies. My daughter draws. My brother works out. Some people sit in silence and are just still.
Allowing time to answer these questions encourages comprehension. And comprehension can lead to a better understanding or, at times, peace in the absence of understanding.
I walk to process relationships.
I walk to process parenting quandaries.
I walk to express my thanksgiving.
I walk to pour my heart out and lay my feelings out in the open.
I walk and grieve.
I walk to remember.
I walk to work through problems from work.
I walk to process fear.
This passage from Ecclesiastes, chapter 3 reminds me to take the time to comprehend the season.
For everything, there is a season and a time for every matter under heaven:
2 a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
3 a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4 a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5 a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6 a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
7 a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
8 a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war and a time for peace.
Whatever time it is in your life, don't deny yourself time to process and comprehend. Take a deep breath and move forward.
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