During my matriculation at Oakwood, there has been a major misconception about Theology majors and emotions. The amount of times I was told “You’re a Theo major, you shouldn’t have to worry/cry/rage/doubt” were countless. It’s like I don’t have permission to express my feelings and emotions. Apparently, I had lost my privilege since I answered my call in ministry to cry and have worries and doubts. It was as if I wasn’t human. These allegations from “Non-Theo majors” and the laity never ceases to irritate the life out of me. It reminds me of the time when I was in elementary school, many of us can relate to this scenario: So you were having the time of your life while playing dodgeball and all of the sudden you’ve been hit in the face by a material that felt like a giant rock coming towards you at super fast pace. The pain was real and if you cried, you would be branded as “weak” for expressing your pain in certain matter. This is how it can be for one to deal with a grieving process.
Recently, I’ve been dealing with the recent death of my grandfather. Not many people really know about this because I have tried so hard not to tell anybody. It’s hard because I’m once again at a crossroads as it relates to dealing with the grieving process. I don’t know if I should cry or keep a brave face since I’m in ministry. I don’t know if it’s a sign of weakness for someone to see me cry. I don’t want people giving me the same cliches in regards to death and questioning my belief. I don’t want people to assume that since this is the second time I’ve lost a grandfather that I should be “used to it” especially since I’m not over my paternal grandfather’s death almost 14 years ago. Don’t get me mistaken, I do believe in God, I do believe that death is not the final answer because of what God has done through Jesus Christ, and I definitely believe in the blessed hope for the coming of Christ when my grandfather will take part in the first resurrection. But, right now it hurts! One of the days I’ve dreaded for years has taken place. Nobody would know who hard it was for me to find out while ministering across the country to say goodbye to my grandfather, on the phone, holding back a ton of tears, Nobody would know how angry I was to only then hear that nearly all of my relatives went down and had a final Sabbath worship with Him and I knew NOTHING about. Not only that, having to wake up to the call that my grandfather had passed in his sleep while acting like nothing happened that morning talking and laughing with people the same day. I can’t even go to my grandfather and tell him about my installation at my new church or even the fact that I would be ordained, I can’t tell him any of that anymore. I’ve had my dealings with mixed emotions for these past few weeks. But, as a minister, I’ve been told by many that I had forfeit my rights to be hurt, upset, and sad.
Therefore, I just felt the need to be vulnerable because I know there are people like me who have a hard time to “grieve” or properly express their feelings and emotions. Many of us feel like we have to put up a brave face like nothing happen when deep down inside you are about to blow. It’s hard to deal with the stings of death and sorrow. As ministers, I personally believe that we should have to right to express our feelings, to show that we hurt and cry just like our members (and clients). To tell someone that they shouldn’t cry and deal with a grieving process because they are a pastor/chaplain/teacher/counselor is like telling someone that they shouldn’t be sick because they are a doctor.
Please keep my family as well as myself in your prayers at this time. Rest in Christ, Granpa.