Updated: May 3, 2021
Jesus wept. John 11:35
This past week I attended a two day online grief conference. This conference was offered to professionals helping people navigate the many forms of grief that have been experienced in the past year.Because helping our clients deal with grief is so prevalent, there were 20,000 people signed up for the conference! People are dealing with so much loss, from death to loved one from Covid to losses of jobs, life milestones, and many other areas of life where we individually and collectively experienced loss. We've even lost our ability to have our normal mourning rituals in the midst of our grief. I was in conference all day Thursday and Friday so therefore missed the Five Minute Friday post. But thought I would use the prompt provided (remedy) for my self labeled "untimed Sunday post." I kind of tricked you with the title, because there really is not remedy for grief, grief is something to process but when we lose something or someone of value it changes us forever.
So, grief is not something to be resolved but is something to process and to "move through" to get to a point where there is more love in the space of grief than pain. There are certain elements that can make moving through grief more challenging and there are those things that can help facilitate it. Of the qualities that can help facilitate the movement of grief, the majority have at their basis in hope. While the conference was secular in nature, those who profess to believe in the saving grace of Jesus Christ know that there is hope beyond death. We recently celebrated our most important holiday which commemorates Jesus victory over death and the grave. And this victory is given to us when we put our trust in him. But that doesn't take away the pain of being separated for the rest of our earthly lives from those we love.
One of the presenters David Kessler author of many books on grief including his most recent Finding Meaning talked about his own experience of grief over the loss of his son. He reached out to a friend when he was angry over the loss. His friend asked him if he wanted the human response or the spiritual response. He answered, "First give me the human response." His friend was able to empathize with his anger and allowed him to express himself, and then after he was able to express his emotions, he was ready for the spiritual response which was filled with hope.
We usually need the human response from others before we are ready to move onto the spiritual. We need someone to sit with us in our grief, to listen to our pain, and and to just be there for us. We need to process our story of loss. When Jesus was confronted with the death of his friend Lazurus, He wept. He wept knowing full well His power and what He intended to do. But He wept out of his identity and sympathy for His friends who had lost His brother and some commentaries say He wept out of anger for the sting of death upon the human race. But He gave a very human response of grief and sympathy before He performed the miracle of raising Lazurus from the dead. We need to learn from the order of this. We can often times be so quick to offer statements such as "you'll see your loved one again" or "they aren't in any pain anymore." and these things are good and truths we can claim as Christians, but we are also humans, who suffer the sting of death and the pain of loss, and the upheaval of life as we know it, and we need our friends and our loved ones to sit with us in our pain and discomfort first.We can never take away the pain of another’s grief but we can bear witness to it and that is often enough. There was so much more about helping people process grief, I could write a series on it.. and perhaps I will. But for now, if you have any questions you can reach out to me on this site.
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