Changing jobs can be quite traumatic, especially under certain circumstances.  Eons ago, I left
a comfortable minimum-wage job in an air-conditioned office at a local newspaper. My new job
would be something extraordinary as I was venturing out into the "oil patch".  I managed to get
hired by Gulf Oil Company. They agreed to train me and I agreed to learn. It sounded like a
good idea at the time.

My air conditioned cubicle at the newspaper office rapidly became a distant memory when they
took me into the "patch" and dropped me off with my "crew" in the 107 degree West Texas heat.
The foreman began to spout terms I had never heard and used words I won't dare repeat.
Things on the ground threatened to crawl up my overalls and things in the air smelled horrific!  
With my hair plastered to my head (underneath a two-ton hardhat), wearing a pair of ninety
pound steel-toe shoes and a pair of overalls that would never come clean again, life as I knew it
had changed!

I had to forget everything I knew and start from scratch, learning every single thing literally from
the ground up. My coworkers were new and different than anyone else I had ever worked with
before. My job was foreign with terminology, tools, and mechanics that I had never dreamed of
before. The working environment was totally different than I had ever even imagined it would
be. Suddenly, I found myself in a world totally and completely foreign to me. NOTHING was the
same as before and I thought I really would go crazy!

I went home that first day filthy, hot, tired, and defeated. It was impossible. There was no hope.
Life as I knew it had ceased to exist and suddenly I felt stupid, isolated, stupid, dejected, stupid,
and well ~ stupid for ever thinking I could do this.  But, there was no turning back. The job I had
left at the newspaper was no longer an option for me, and my only options were to give up, or
go forward.

So, what does this have to do with Grief?  
Change.

Change makes us crazy. Or at least it makes us FEEL crazy. You had a life with someone and
even though that life may have had its ups and downs, it was YOUR life and you were happy
with it. Suddenly, through no design of your own and no choice YOU made, your life changed.
Different life-changes may be associated with your loss depending on the one who is gone. A
child's loss of a parent creates different life-changes than a loss of a spouse, but a loss of any
kind creates major life-changes.

It's bad enough just having to deal with the loss and the emptiness or loneliness.  Add to this all
of the other changes and it can make you feel like you're really going crazy.  Maybe, as a result
of your loss, you've had to find a new place to live. Or, maybe you have to deal with financial
struggles you didn't have before. Whatever changes you are currently facing, you have one
thing in common with everyone who has suffered a loss:  
Life Changed! Everything feels
different. Nothing feels the same, and THIS is what makes us feel like we are going crazy.

My own grief made me feel like I had suddenly been transplanted to a different planet.
Everything was foreign. Nothing gave me comfort.  I craved something sane, something
familiar, something peaceful to cling to in order to save me from the depths of my grief.
Suddenly, I was faced with the same two limited options:  I could give up, or I could go forward.

Going back to life before loss is not an option. Giving up shouldn't be one, especially if you
have anyone still left on this planet who loves you.  Even if you think you don't, your life IS
affecting someone else's life. Above all else (literally) God loves you, too!  So, how do you go
forward?

First, recognize that although your life has changed, it is still LIFE. Your life. You didn't ask for it
to change, but it did. You liked it the way it was, but it isn't that way anymore. It's a different life,
but that doesn't mean it's not going to be a different GOOD life. God loves you and still has
plans for you, or you wouldn't be here. His first plan is to love you. His second is to bring you
closer to loving Him. From there He plans nothing less than to fill you with peace and lead you
to find that wonderful joy again in your life.

Second, take baby steps. Use the analogy of that strange, new job. You aren't expected to
know how to live your new life all at once. It's no more natural for you to wake up one morning
and suddenly feel comfortable living life as a single instead of a couple, than it was for me to
know everything about the oilfield all at once!  Life is a work in progress and we learn as we go.
It is true; we are NEVER too old to learn. Yes, learning comes easier in our youth, but we can
still learn. You CAN do this!

Best Tip:  Start learning how to live your new life
from the ground up. Literally. The absolutely
best way to do this is on your knees, praying to the One up above who hears your every
prayer. He is your best instructor and He will never let you fail.

Although it is difficult in the beginning, try to view each new sunrise as something worth waking
up for. Even if you don't want to climb out of bed, spend a few quiet moments each morning just
listening.  Listen to the birds sing, the wind blow, or the refrigerator running.  But listen. Life is
going on all around you, even without your realizing it. And while you are listening, listen also
for that still small voice from God who can give you the strength and the courage to make it
through "just one more day".

You're not crazy. You're only going through a major life-change. You can do this. He can help.
May God truly bless you and bring you peace.

                                                                 *   *   *   *   *

BTW: For those extremely inquiring minds, yes, I did manage to learn my job in the oilfield.  I went on to
become a lease operator, plant operator, and production supervisor. It was an awesome career for 15
years.    Never give up!    :)
When Grief Makes You Feel Crazy
© Ferna Lary Mills


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