Do you think he ever got depressed? He said he was pressed out of measure, despairing even of life itself. He suffered a lot of grief in his life. A lot of the people that he loved and pastored – started on their Christian walk – forsook the faith while he was alive. Others were killed by the Romans. So he had a rough life – all because he wanted to be in God’s Kingdom and be with God.
And this is the thing I always come back to. It’s really nice to talk about the church and how we all have the Holy Spirit, and you know, all that kind of thing, but what part are we to do when we deal with losses, and when we deal with trials and problems? I mean, until we can talk about that stuff, the rubber hasn’t really hit the road yet. So, I’m going to do that a little bit today.
I tell people in our community about resolving grief and trauma by telling them a story. And I thought I might tell that story to you today, because you’re people that suffer grief and trauma, just like everybody else. Right? And that is stuff that holds people back from going forward. So here’s what I tell them:
Every night – roughly ninety minutes after we go to sleep – our eyes begin to go back and forth under our closed lids. We call that REM sleep. It stands for rapid eye movement. Right? Even animals do it. It’s not just a human thing. God built it into mammals and humans. Okay? I don’t know about insects and other stuff, but I do know that it happens to dogs. You may have seen a dog in REM sleep. If we happen to wake up during this time in sleep, we might catch a fleeting glimpse of some non-sensical or mysterious images – hardly ever words. There’s never a story with it – no beginning, middle and end. Such a curious thing! Why did God build into people? You know, for thousands of years, nobody knew why that was going on.
But then, brain research happened, and they started to watch the human brain while it was in REM. They could see where the activity was in the brain. And they saw memory networks in the right brain – that’s the side…that’s the “big picture” part of our brain that looks after us and keeps us safe, and does relationship, and kind of has an overarching awareness. They saw memory networks in the right brain down in the limbic system, where the emotions are created to begin with, being rewritten, or moved over, to left side. They’d see it really bright here, and then this would start getting brighter, and then this would get dimmer, and then all the activity was in the left cortex. Why? What was the purpose of that?
Well, have you ever gone to sleep angry about something, and in the morning when you wake up, you’re not as upset, even though nothing has changed about the situation? We say, “Well, a good night’s sleep….” Well, it turns out that that business of moving…when your brain is stimulated – left, right, left, right, left right – the stuff gets rewritten over to the left side. And that memory never should have been left in your amygdala on the right side, because that’s not what the amygdala is for. It’s for creating memory, not storing it. So, it moves it over, where it should have been to begin with. So it rewrites the memory. It’s now in a different form that it was when