A Severe Mercy

A severe mercy?

“Practically speaking, disillusionment is the loss of illusion. In terms of larceny, then, it is the equivalent of having one’s high cholesterol or a perpetually bad habit stolen. Disillusionment, while painful, is evidence which shows the myths that enchant us need not blind us forever, a sign that what is falsely believed can be shattered by what is genuine. In such terms, disillusion is far less an unwanted intrusion than it is a severe mercy, far more like a surgeon’s excising of a tumor than a cruel removal of hope.: Jill Carattini – Ravi Zacharias Ministry

I was talking to a young lady in her 30’s a few days ago and she seemed to catch a glimmer of the truth of some unproductive, even self destructive illusions to which she was clinging…Illusions about what “fairness” should look like, about what parents ought to be, about how God should answer prayers, and more. I shared with her a book I read in my 20’s by Judith Viorst: ” The Loves, Illusions, Dependencies, and Impossible Expectations That All of Us Have to Give Up in Order to Grow”. It was eye opening for me then. As she and I talked, she said, “No one has ever talked to me like this. It makes sense.” She took the book. Co-dependency, immature thinking about God, lack of self-identity, poor understanding of real intimacy, sentimentality instead of true compassion and empathy, and more. As the Apostle Paul said:

1 Corinthians 13:11
When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.”

For many of the women in recovery, the cocoon in which they dwell for the time they are in our program becomes like a womb. A new person is being born, an adult person. One’s assumptions about life, expectations of others, illusion of control, knowledge of God, self-concept, view of family, and more are being reframed in adult ways of thinking instead of the “stuck” way of thinking that occurs when one’s maturation is stunted by substance use and abuse, early sexual experience, parental neglect, emotional and spiritual woundedness, and cultural deceptions.

I’ve given away numerous copies of “Necessary Losses” over the years, usually when I loaned out my personal copy and never had it returned. I’ve replaced my personal copy so many times it pops up on my Amazon account now with the notice, “ready to order this again?” My hope is that it makes an impact on someone else, calls them out of the immature illusions about how life “ought to be” and into reality so that they can learn healthier, adult ways to cope with the trials they encounter.

This young lady, like others, is discovering that fight, flight, or the disabling immobilization of fright are not the only options. There does come a time in one’s life in which she needs to be “robbed” of her childhood. As Jill Carattini says, it is a severe mercy, a hard but necessary loss.

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