Sometime ago I read this passage in Andrew Comiskey’s book, “Strength in Weakness.” I had never run across this insight regarding the masculine soul. It spoke to something deep in my own soul. He observes, “I believe within most men lies an ancient, deep well of grief and regret. It rumbles with the ache of unexpressed suffering. And in our silence and isolation, the pain fuels our striving and addiction. We thus live in the darkness of unexpressed affliction.”
The reality of a deep well of grief helped me to conceptualize what I had been experiencing for many years. All the diseased emotions and images stored in my heart, were not all connected to anger. I began to realize that what I often thought was anger, was really grief. Richard Rohr calls this grief, “unfinished hurt.” “The grieving mode” is different from the fixing, the controlling mode or even the understanding mode of life. I have found in my own life as well as the lives of many men, that we were not told or had modeled for us a male mode of feeling that helped us to grieve. Letting go of hurt will takes time, as we learn to grieve out the pain and hurt.
Usually in the company of others brothers in Christ, who have some maturity in their spiritual walk, men are able to learn to grieve out their pain. I find it very helpful for men to learn to distinguish the male mode of grieving from that of the feminine. I learned a male mode of feeling from my mother, as have many men I have shared with over the years. Father was more like a shadow when it came to expression of heart felt emotions. This prevented me from accessing what was unique to me as a male. It took some years for me to be able to go into the well and identify the grief I had stored there
What we must not do is remain silent. Larry Crabb in his book, “The Silence of Adam” observes that Adam complied with the disobedience of Eve, by remaining silent. Crabb give this warning about silence: “Since Adam every man has had a natural inclination to remain silent when he should speak…Men are uniquely called to remember what God has said and to speak accordingly, to move into dangerous uncertainty with a confidence and wisdom that comes from listening to God. Instead, like Adam, we forget God and remain silent.” Many men feel alone, isolated from meaningful relationships. We have a hard time to break out of our prison of solitary striving.
I hope that this post will stir the soul of men as they read about silence. If you can identify with the well of grief and the presence of unfinished hurt in your soul, I would encourage you to come to Jesus and ask him for the grace and strength to brake through the barrier. A very helpful practice would be to seek out another brother in Christ who will hear your story or you might want to join a group of guys who are willing to go into the well together and proccess the pain.