When my son passed away a few years ago I held up well until right after his memorial service. I was there with him in the hospital during those final days … and even at his bedside when he went. I spoke at his memorial service … and maintained my composure. BUT, the day after his memorial, it all sank in as to what had just happened. A dark cloud settled over me that day that I just couldn’t to get rid of.
I knew from my own experience in counseling that I cannot isolate myself but needed to maintain a routine in life and try to get back to some normality. I got busy immediately with my counseling seeing clients daily, but with everything I did I just couldn’t seem to get out from under that cloud. Though no one could tell … I felt like I was smothering and the sadness was overwhelming. I even asked some counselor friends of mine if I should see a psychiatrist for some depression medication but they encouraged me to give it a couple more weeks as I was just going through some serious grief with the loss I was experiencing in my life.
It was now three weeks after my son’s service and, though I was functioning “outwardly” alright, inwardly I was overwhelmed by this deep sadness that I had never experienced before in my entire life. I knew I had to do something.
I remember that Saturday morning while I was out shopping I saw these white shoes that I really liked. I have never owned a pair of white shoes. When I was 9 years old Pat Boone made “white bucks” a popular fashion and I remember my brother having a pair … but when I became a teenager they were out of style. Ever since that day, whenever I suggested buying a pair of white shoes, someone would remind me of how stupid or ugly they were and I would always take their advice to refrain. BUT … on this beautiful sunny Saturday morning I purchased my first pair of white shoes. Later that afternoon I said to myself, “I want to go dancing tonight and I want to wear my white shoes” … so I went dancing.
Something happened that Saturday because the next day that suffocating black cloud lifted and I felt like I could breathe again. Oh the sadness of losing my son continued and I still had to work through the grieving process, but I seemed to find a renewed hope and purpose which gave me the ability to move forward. I’m not sure exactly what happened that night … but that experience helped be break free. I call it my “White Shoe Therapy”.
I think we all have had those “Dark night of the soul” experiences sometime in our life. Even the writer of the Psalms talked about a time when all of his friends had left him and in his despair he proclaimed: “Darkness is my closest friend” (Psalm 88:18). These are those moments when it feels like we’re just not going to make it through … BUT … There is ALWAYS hope and something or someone there to pull us through … even if it is just a pair of “White Shoes” or a good friend who supports and encourages you to “go ahead … just do it!”. If you are experiencing a “dark moment” in your life I encourage you to pursue a “White Shoe” experience … whatever that may be for you!
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