There’s a phrase that I’ve heard amongst my Christian friends a lot: “I’m/You’re just going through a season.”
I fully understand that it’s popular with Christians because it’s technically a biblical sentiment.
Ecclesiastes 3 begins with, “for everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to harvest,” etc.
Acts 1:7 says “He said to them, ‘It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority.'”
The intentions are good! Saying that we’re “going through a season” is supposed to be a reminder that there is a time for everything in life, good and bad, and everything we go through is a part of God’s plan. That’s fine. The best of intentions, however, don’t always have great implications.
Let’s think about our perception of seasons. If you live in an area where there is seasonal climate change, you understand that seasons are fleeting, lasting no more than a few months. They come, you experience them briefly, and they leave. You move on.
Saying we’re “just going through a season” implies that whatever we’re experiencing will be over soon. That in a few months or less, we’ll have moved on, the past will be the past, and everything will be fine.
I don’t think anyone who has gone through loss would call their grief a “season.”
Grief does not end after a few months. Grief isn’t something you can just get over and move on from. Grief doesn’t turn into “fine.”
That might come off as bleak, but it’s true. There won’t ever be a day for the rest of my life that I won’t miss my loved ones who have passed away. Does that mean I’m sad 100% of the time? Of course not. But I have to give myself permission to be okay with feeling sad. I give it to myself because no one else will.
People like to bring uncomfortable situations down to a level within their comfort zone. I get it, and I’ve been guilty of it. I’m sure that telling someone that their experience is a “season” will probably make you feel better. It’s helpful to believe that someone’s “season will pass.”
But calling my grief a season trivializes it to something that it’s not. It removes my permission to feel what I need to feel, whenever I need to feel it.