The Importance of Recognizing One's Goodness
Our visit to Canada to see our new granddaughter came to an end, and my wife and I returned to our home in Europe. Not long after, I became depressed once again. Thankfully, the episode did not last long (a matter of a few days), but it was very intense. I had little appetite, and had difficulty sleeping. I decided to spend nights in a separate upper floor bedroom so that I would not disturb my wife. As has been typical, my thoughts about myself were extremely critical. Finally, the pain became so difficult to bear that I wondered how much more I could endure. However, I desperately did not want to cause my wife any further hurt. I lay in bed and prayed fervently to Jesus to quell my angst, not for my sake, but for my wife's. Toward morning, I fell asleep, and dreamed that a cat told me that she was secretly pregnant, and that she was going to give me one of her kittens. When I awoke, I was relieved to find that I had slept a bit (without medication), and I was reassured by the dream (a kitten represents the playful innocence and goodness of the divine feminine). Later that morning, as I thought about the previous night, I felt very deeply the pain my wife would experience should I ever die prematurely - it was as if I were inside her mind. I realized that my desire not to hurt my wife was far stronger than my ego's residual self-loathing. This was a very important insight. It proved to me that I was capable of true, unselfish love. It meant that I was "good". Acknowledging my innate goodness was an emotional release, and I felt so much better about myself. That evening, I found myself thinking about my little sister, who had committed suicide in 1986. I thought I had long ago plumbed the depths of my grief, but I was wrong. I grieved deeply for my loss, and I also grieved deeply for how she must have suffered prior to taking her own life. Allowing oneself to grieve the loss of a loved one, especially when the circumstances are tragic, feels painful, but it is actually a healing act of self-love. That night I dreamed that I rescued a cat from falling off of a very high ledge. Afterward, the cat lay contentedly on its back in my hands, purring away - another reassuring dream.
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Robert Keith Rinne's work focuses on the healing of mental illness, particularly where such illness has been fostered by fundamentalist religion. He and his wife have raised four children. As a family, they were always open about Robert’s own struggles and their individual spiritual journeys. Robert is now semi-retired but continues to offer spiritual counseling.