“Grief is like a long valley, a winding valley where every bend may reveal a totally new landscape.” – C. S. Lewis, A Grief Observed
What often comes to mind when we hear the word “grief” is mourning the loss of a loved one. Yet it encompasses so much more, including the loss of an ideal, a community, or a way of life. Leaving the convent is a time when we often experience these emotions, but may not understand or comprehend what is happening. For some, it may be mourning the loss of community, the structured way of life, or even our identity itself. Feelings of denial, isolation, anger, bargaining with God, and depression are a part of the grieving process and the human experience, but can be ignored or pushed aside. By embracing our humanity and Christ’s never-ending mercy, we can obtain acceptance and peace.
On Thursday, May 29th, we’ll be exploring the stages of grief and discussing healthy ways of coping with this painful experience for those have left the religious life. We sincerely hope you join us as we journey through this “valley” together!
– Wendy Macagno, Webchat Discussant
As many of you already know, Leonie’s Longing’s next Live Webchat will take place this Thursday, May 29th, from 8:30 to 9:30 pm. In order to ensure that the webchat covers questions of concern to you, our readers, we’re using this blog post to ask you to let us know anything specific you might want us to cover on Thursday.
If you have a question, comment, or just something you’d like to share with the Webchat Discussants before they go live, please use the comment boxes below to tell us. (Responding to one another’s comments/questions to “+1″ them will let us know which topics are of concern to the most people, so please feel free to do that, too!)
Of course, you can also send us questions/comments via Facebook and Twitter, if you prefer. These outlets will be monitored both before and during the Live Webchat to guide our Discussants’ conversation.
We’re looking forward to hearing from you! 🙂
I’m trying to remember what it was like when I left, and I remember peace, joy, and excitement…but I also remember it as sometimes excessive. Is there a kind of grief that involves a sort of compensation?
I’m in the wrong timezone ? i.e. AEST.
I’d have loved to have participated but I’m afraid that your Thursday night is my Friday late-morning, and so I’ll be at work.
Potentially if a webchat in the future was held on a Friday night in US time, it would be possible for those of us on the other side of the date line to attend as it would be Saturday morning.
Just wanted to say – I’ve been away from the site for a little while due to being overwhelmed with my current postgrad workload, only just coming up for air this week after a 3 month slog! But in that time, there have been some fantastic posts on the blog – just wanted to say thank you to all, the increased frequency with which things seem to have been posted of late, and the nature of the advice given and experiences shared, is fantastic! Keep up the great work, and thank you for all you do.
You make a good point about Friday night being potentially better for people in different timezones. We’ll take that into consideration for the next webchat! As for this one: We’ll post a link to a video of the webchat once it’s over, so you’ll still be able to watch it afterwards.
And thank you for the kind words! ? If you ever have any ideas for blog posts (or want to write one yourself— about your experience, offering advice, etc.), don’t hesitate to let us know!
I’m not sure if I’ll be able to make it for the webchat because my timezone is +4:00 GMT and I assume your timezone is EST (USA). Anyway, just wanted to mention this question –
It’s very easy to fall into a sort of indifference and complacency – where you would just keep telling yourself everything is ok even though your routine is getting more and more lax as each day goes on – till a point that you don’t even care what are your priorities anymore – the spiritual or temporal…. How can we deal with this indifference and complacency?
This is a great question, Celine. I’m really glad you asked it. Thank you!
As for the time difference: No worries. We’ll make a video of the webchat and post a link to it so everyone who couldn’t be there live will still be able to watch it after the fact.
That’s awesome news about making the webchat content available later via a link! I look forward to it! And will specially pray for you guys on Thursday night before I sleep (since the webchat will be at around 4:30am on Friday morning in my zone :)))
This question is really good!
One of the aspects of grief that I am dealing with is that I really miss the Sisters themselves, especially the other aspirants and postulants. Perhaps you could address this side of grief as well?
I’m not sure if I’ll be able to watch the live chat tomorrow night, but I’m looking forward to at least catching the video afterwards! ?
I’m going to try and be present for the live-chat since I am only an hour difference in time-zones. I am really looking forward to this one because the grief is something I’m still struggling with, even after a year of being out. Of course, giving your all to something for 2 1/2 years and then feeling as though you now have nothing to give anymore is tough (to put it mildly). I wondered if you could talk a little about how to eventually ”say a final good-bye” as part of the grieving process. Losing the friendships that you made in the community as well as the love of the order is really hard to let go of. I often think that I’d like to be able to let go completely and give them all to Jesus in order to move on, but I am still afraid of not being able to love the sisters or the spirituality anymore, and of them not loving me anymore, too. I remember the book “Grieving the loss of someone you love” said that one of the final stages of grief is ”saying good-bye”, and this is often years after the loved one has passed on. How does that compare to a break with a religious community, especially if you don’t want to lose the friendships that you still hope you have? Is it really like a divorce (as some people tell me it is) where you have to cut off all contact…at least for a while?