Time Heals Grief?

“Time heals all wounds.”

time ticks slowlyLet me tell you something: that old saying is not true. Time can help ease the pain, but it sure doesn’t heal. Simple distance from a single painful incident does help someone gain perspective. But for someone who holds conscious or buried memories of severe abuse, the pain is just too deep.

When pain is that deep, it becomes unrelenting grief.

Have you ever felt grief so deep that you couldn’t even cry? I have. Often it was because I didn’t want to appear weak or to make myself or others uncomfortable. Most of the time it was from emotional paralysis.

Compare this kind of grief with the old “flight or fight” syndrome. (And don’t forget the third alternative, “freeze”). When the adrenal glands are pumping out massive amounts of stimulant in response to a perceived threat, animals and humans will respond with one of those three. Physical defense (fighting the enemy), running away (fleeing the fight), or freezing (playing dead) occur, depending on the circumstance. When used at the right time, all work well.female boxer ready for the fight

Grief can cause the same type of response in the emotional arena. You can fight, perhaps getting angry at yourself for not being strong enough. You can flee, perhaps by leaving any situation where the grief is exposed and threatens your equilibrium. Or you can freeze emotionally, leaving you unable to release the grief.

That inability is painful and frustrating. It makes you feel even more different from everybody else. And it increases the isolation that is the hallmark of a survivor.

How can that grief finally be released when you can’t even access it?

When I was stuck in the emotional quagmire, my counselor would ask me to give Jesus permission to touch my feelings. And it helped.

Remember, He won’t interfere with our free will. If you’ve spent your whole life burying emotional expression, especially of grief, Jesus won’t make you release it. But if you allow Him to do the emotional surgery to expose deep-seated pain, He is faithful to heal.

bandaging the woundsThe surgery is a lot like physically lancing an abscess. Once the infection is drained, the abscess can be cleaned and treated appropriately. And like the physical surgery, although some local anesthetic may be used, there is still some pain.


Knowing there will be an end to the pain gives us hope. That end sure didn’t come according to my timetable. I suspect it won’t come on yours, either. But let Him do the surgery to heal your grief. Hang on to hope.

There will be an end. Honest.


This is part 2 of a series on grief

Part 1| Are You Living with Grief?

all illustrations courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net