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“Trust the process,” my least favorite words in the whole world, although they are good words and true. “Trust the process” as in the healing process, the grieving process, the recovery process, even the dying process. All these things take time and I am often rather impatient. We are wasting daylight here.

“Trusting in the process” is not to be confused with wandering around lost in the desert for 40 years or hanging onto grievances for half a century, or nurturing perpetual sorrow or something. We are all “in a process,” our very lives are a work in progress.

I speak of the short-term process, the things that shall pass, the things that are only for a season. Physical healing can be like that, we want it yesterday, but it takes time to recover. So too does emotional healing. Grief itself can come and go in cycles, it is also a process.

How kind God is to us, how gentle, because He really did design this system of process, where things have a familiar order, where our spirits, like our bodies, are allowed the time  to adjust, adapt, repair, and come out the other side. That is really miraculous and so respectful of our souls.

I have been very blessed by learning to trust in the process. There is a rhyme and a reason to the way things go down, to how we process storms, emotional upheavals, attacks. There is a predictability there, some human commonalities, that really speak to a deliberate design. God can make these things as gentle and easy as possible, when we can learn to lean into Him.

Of course, it doesn’t always “feel” so easy, but when I am on the outside looking in, I can see His gentleness there, I can see how blessed people are to have been granted the time to process. There’s a lot of emotional, physical, and spiritual work going on right beneath the surface, that needs to happen, that will bear fruit. If you’ve ever been in crisis mode, simply moving from one storm to another, you really come to appreciate the importance of “the process.”

Even dying can be a process, one with familiar markers, and when all goes well, there is a certain kind of beauty to it, a gentleness for the soul. I’ve been very blessed to have been on the outside looking in, to have been allowed to sit with people and to listen, to observe their process, not trapped in the throws of grief or loss. It’s far harder to see the process going on when you are very attached and grieving. But when you can just be there quietly, you get to see them saying goodbye, reconciling old regrets, rejoicing in good memories, packing so to speak, preparing for a transition. It is far harder when people die suddenly, because families, loved ones, don’t have time to process what is happening themselves, to catch a glimpse of the process going on and to be comforted by it.

I’m very blessed, I generally work with people who have lived long and productive lives, whose dying process can be prolonged, sometimes for a few years, as they are granted the time they need to prepare and to allow their families and friends to process it all. It’s the best case scenario, an ideal death, if such a thing can be said of dying.

I fear for the Western world because we’ve become very detached from “the process,” disrespectful of it, impatient. When we become depressed for example, we rush out to get a pill to fix it, depression now perceived as a defect, a disease. And it can be, our brains can go off-line, but we often forget all about the fact that there is often a process going on. Depression can be a healthy response to our circumstances, a valuable part of the process, one we should not have to live in forever, but not necessarily a bad thing.

Death too is something many people fear, perhaps a healthy fear, but it can become crippling and before you know it, it’s the living that people really fear. So we begin to tailor our lives based on fear of dying rather than  faith in living.