Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Disengagement, Disidentification, Disenchantment and Disorientation

Can you imagine a kind of “Mind Virus” that incapacitates the individual for long periods of time? It robs the person of valuable relationships and stops them from personal growth. They desire nothing more and stop entirely from making new contacts.

It almost sounds like Alzheimer’s – right? Or maybe some major dementia that is taking so many of our community year after year.

Well the “Mind Virus” is not really a virus as we think of it…not is it a dementia that takes a loved one. It is a Mind Shift that takes place when a sudden transition is thrust upon us.

One minute you are laughing and happy… the next you are in tears. The words spoken to you were all that was necessary. The impact of what was said was so deep and so horrific to comprehend that it shook your world to its depths. The transition began.

In William Bridges’ book “the way of transition” he talks about the END, the Neutral Zone and the New Beginning.

The END is where the transition begins.

Few things prepare us for this to happen.

Last week I conducted a funeral service for a lady that was 63 years old. She was a loving wife. She was a care giver. She stood through thick and thin with her husband. To the three grandkids she was the central part of their existence. When Dad and Mom weren’t there grandma was.

The sickness was short and end was fast in coming. She was gone before she could see the specialist.

At the funeral her daughter was hugging a young lady who was sobbing. The young lady was a tall girl of 13 years old. This was grandma’s special ‘big’ girl. The relationship that this young lady had with her grandma couldn’t be described – they were way past best friends.

All of the 13 years of growing up no one had talked to her about death. Thinking that her grandparent – her friend – would be gone someday is not something that a 13 year old thinks about.

I have met “40 somethings”, young adults that have never faced this before either. Society doesn’t prepare us for the END. And it definitely doesn’t prepare us for the Neutral Zone and the New Beginning. Our happy world should stay the same – unchanging – not rocking – not rolling – just the same.

Well – let me tell you a secret – it has never been that way. Change began early in humanity’s history and hasn’t stopped.

Look at one of the old stories. Adam and Eve – perfect garden, perfect first family – whamo – a change took place. Eve messed it up and Adam followed along. Think of the next day after they exited the Garden of Eden. Think of what they saw on the outside of perfection and peace. When they looked back there was no way they were getting back in – there was a great big angel standing guard to keep people out.

In a heart beat they entered the stages of Disengagement, Disidentification, Disenchantment and Disorientation.

Here again I remind you of what William Bridges, author of Transitions, states. There are four stages we go through when we experience “Loss”. He calls them the four cardinal aspects of the experience of loss – which are…
Disengagement – which is the separation from whatever it is that you have lost.
Disidentification – or the way that the loss destroys the old identity you had.
Disenchantment – which refers to the way that the loss tears you out of the old reality you accepted unthinkingly.
Disorientation – is how, as a result of losing the object of your feeling and the identity you had together and the reality you shared, you feel bewildered and lost.

Flash Back…
In June 1987, one Sunday night, I was sitting on the platform listening to wonderful music and a powerful message was about to begin. Alida was sitting down in the front rows of the church with our two daughters, Dana and Anda. I had begun our new work at Scarboro Gospel Temple as the Youth Pastor. Everyone loved us. I couldn’t have been more happy.

From the side of my vision I saw a person walking quickly to the platform. They stepped up on to the platform and approached me, bent over and said, “There is a very important call for you on the telephone.”

Who knew I was there? Who would call me at that time? I puzzled about it all the way to the back of the church and into the foyer. The happy music followed me all the way back.

There on the telephone was my mother. She was crying. Dad had been rushed to the hospital and it didn’t look good. They had given her no hope – even for the night.

When I hung up the telephone and turned back to the service – everything had changed. The music didn’t make sense anymore and I really didn’t want to be there. But I had to go back and sit without saying or doing anything. Everyone was happy and I felt like “#*&&” – great place to have those feelings. Everyone was watching me as I sat down again. Alida was looking at me kind of oddly – “What was going on?” passed from her to me with that look.

Dad was dieing or was dead… and I was to play the role of a happy pastoral team player… Bull! This was crazy to sit there and do nothing! But what could you do but sit? The END had started and I knew nothing of what to do with it.

Yesterday I wrote about what happened after he died. Today I pause to reflect on what happens when you enter the horrific and then stall after getting there.

Disengaged, Disidentified, Disenchanted and Disoriented feelings are real. How we deal with it is real. The total affect and the lingering affect is the “Mind Virus” that I spoke of earlier. In the Neutral Zone as you work through it you can be numb, you can be angry and you can simply be nothing….

The same can happen when a good friend leaves. How about a separation or divorce? How about when a ministry changes?

When the END happens – it can be the hardest thing ever to handle. But the good news is – we can handle it. It simply takes time.

For Moses it took 40 years. Then he followed that one with another 40.

Think of the Children of Israel and the captivity that they were subjected to. They were broken and carried away to another land. Their city that had been their very core of existence was crushed as well… places of worship were destroyed and all was gone. Talk about Disengagement, Disidentification, Disenchantment and Disorientation.

Watch the Jewish people today standing at the Weeping Wall and bobbing back and forth as they cry out to the Lord mercy. An entire Nation has spent many life times in agony as they lost everything.

Disengagement, Disidentification, Disenchantment and Disorientation is the heart of most world conflicts as they begin… and particularly as they end.

The Olympics are on now – it has filled our attention almost day and night as it is beamed from Beijing, China continually. This Saturday Zach Bell will compete there against the best in the world. Zach is my nephew – I am little bit proud.

Four things are possible at every Olympic endeavor. The first three are GOLD, SILVER and BRONZE. The forth one is a bundle of possible Disengagement, Disidentification, Disenchantment and Disorientation.

If you haven’t come to grips yet with this – you will – you certainly will some day.

Hey I am pulling for you. And if you ever want to talk, my “Mind Virus” is somewhat cleared up. I have started to leave the Neutral Zone and have the possibility of a New Beginning. My telephone number is 705-760-9389 – call me. I will call back – I have free long distance anywhere in Canada! And my email is murray.lincoln@gmail.com

~ Murray Lincoln ~

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