This week our family suffered the loss of our pet cat. Angel had been in the family for just under a dozen years. My wife Regina rescued her from a shelter where she was slated to be “put down.” This beloved friend is best remembered as a comfort to my wife as she went through her chemotherapy treatments. I too have many fond memories of Angel making her way to my lap as I sipped iced tea, read, or watched television. In the last moments, I, my wife, and the daughters all gathered at the veterinarian’s office. Final hugs and tears were shed as the doctor did the only humane thing that could be done.
Why all the fuss about a cat?
There is a well known verse in the bible that states, “Blessed are they that mourn for they shall be comforted.” But what does that actually mean – and why do we humans “mourn.”
Mourning is the way we deal with the emotional pain associate with loss – the key word being loss. It’s the outward expression of an emotional wound. Normally we think of words such as mourning and loss at times of great sorrow. But mourning should not be reserved for just the most extreme situations.
Any time we are challenged emotionally we suffer some degree of wounding or feeling of loss. If our spouse, coworker, or a close friend treats us in a way that we perceive as unfavorable, a wounding takes place. Any offence, disrespect, or act of aggression can easily result in an emotional wound. That’s why we respond the way we do with anger or hiding: because we’ve just been wounded. “Time heals all wounds,” right? In fact just the opposite is true. Like physical wounds, emotional wounds that are not properly cared for will become infected, leave scaring, and possibly affect us for years to come.
Here’s a better way
Have a good “mourning.” Not always with tears – but tears may be just what you need. You and I are not designed to hold it in, cover it up, or lose our temper. Getting back at the person never solves anything for any party involved.
As the verse says, “Blessed are they that mourn for they shall be comforted.” There is blessing and comfort for they that mourn. Mourning shows that we are still sensitive, and that gives God a place to work in our lives and in the situation. When we allow God to comfort us, we will normally rather respond correctly.
So before you respond to a situation, take the time to recognize that you have just been hurt, wounded, and have suffered loss. You may only need a minute. Don’t just react with the first thing that comes to mind. Rather, take time to deal with the hurt BEFORE you attempt to respond. Go for a walk, pray, or whatever. Let the wound heal before you take actions.