Coping with Separation - Pain and Separation
Coping with separation can be one of the hardest experiences life hands us. Pain and separation can be synonymous. In order to cope with the pain, we often seek to understand what caused the separation, and sometimes we blame ourselves. But the truth is, all of us will experience some kind of separation in our lives.
Separation is defined by Webster as: to part, disjoin, scatter, detached, solitary, secluded. Clearly, there are numerous types of separation that we may be facing. Separation may be for a moment, or a lifetime.
Coping with Separation - Short and Long Term
Coping with separation for a short time may involve you or a loved one leaving on a trip, going to war, or moving away to attend college. Although these circumstances are difficult, the hope of the person's return makes the separation much easier for us to handle. While it is painful, short term separation is usually natural and is a pain that we can overcome. For example, as children grow, they move away from their parents, often starting families of their own. They have separated from their original home, yet they are still part of the family. They may be apart physically, but families can stay consistently connected through phone calls, e-mails, and visits.
Dealing with separation on a long term basis is more painful. Perhaps this separation will never be resolved due to divorce, death, or ex-communication. Feelings of being excluded, exiled, or locked out often accompany this separation. Long-term separation often results in intense emotional pain that is difficult to overcome. If we are separated due to exclusion or exile, we often feel rejected or discriminated against. These feelings can be crippling if not dealt with effectively.
Coping with Separation - Comfort in Embracing and Inclusion
When coping with separation, our need to be loved and accepted intensifies. While counseling is extremely helpful, we can learn to cope with hurtful separation ourselves. By understanding how we define the circumstances, and learning to select and embrace what is important to us, we learn to cope. Is it possible to continue loving a person or situation that has excluded or rejected us? Yes, but it is a matter of decision. In other words, we can continue to love in spite of personal pain if we consciously choose to forgive the one who has hurt us, and if we choose to love them anyway. Does this mean the relationship will be restored? Not necessarily, but we can learn to cope with the pain and even be comforted by our understanding and selection of priorities.
Coping with Separation - God's Love is the Answer
In the beginning of time, coping with separation was initiated by God. Man chose to separate himself from God by disobedience (see Genesis chapter 3). God loves His creation and does not want to be separated from it. God desires fellowship and a personal relationship with us; His priority is to love man. The Bible tells us that God is love (1 John 4:7-8). We learn love from God and we manage our pain through love.
Coping with all forms of separation is put into action by love. God loves us in all circumstances. Romans 5:8 says, "God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners (separated) Christ died for us." John 3:16 says, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish (be permanently separated) but have everlasting life."
If you are hurting right now because of a painful separation, God's unconditional love can help resolve much of the pain you are experiencing. It is not necessary to stop loving something just because we are separated. We often love someone, yet due to actions or circumstances, we find that relationship is not possible. Because it depends on certain conditions being made right, the relationship is conditional.
God's love for us is unconditional, but if we are to enjoy our relationship with Him, we need to resolve or meet certain conditions. Pride, anger, or lack of humility often prevent us from reconciling and reinstating the relationship. When separation is caused by death or unresolved issues, such as lack of repentance or reconciliation, there will be grief.
Are you hurting right now because of a separation that is unresolved? Why not take that pain to God? If you've never had a relationship with Him before, you can begin one right now. Just tell Him you are sorry for the things you've done that have hurt or disappointed Him. Tell Him you long to turn your life around and live according to His will for you as revealed in His Word, the Bible. Coping with separation of any kind is possible, but first requires that we end our separation from God. That is His desire. Is it yours? He's only a prayer away.