I’m discovering that it can be a challenge to stay present in grief.
Now, what I mean by that is, I often want to run away from it. It doesn’t mean if I’m having a good day, I don’t enjoy it. It doesn’t mean I force sadness and sorrow upon myself.
It means society wants an answer or a bandaid or a platitude to fix the “grief problem.” For those in faith communities, it can be even more of a challenge. “God will wipe away every tear. He will fix it.”
Let’s move on.
But I have learned a few things out here. We lived in a constant state of “not yet, not now, not ever on earth.” We waited for a fix. We spent years watching our daughter get weaker and sicker, and realized that there was nothing we could do to keep her alive and thriving. It wasn’t until a few weeks before she passed that I made peace with what it would look like to lose her and how we could invite God into the process instead of constantly asking him to do something, anything, but be with us in her death.
The scales from my eyes fell and I realized, I actually felt like God didn’t belong in death. But he does.
We have learned that grief and loss and heartache are a part of the package. Faith filled or not, we are going to go through life altering, gut wrenching things. Instead of plugging my ears and saying, “No, no, no,” I now know that there is power and freedom in walking through the flames, palms open and up, spirit poor. In the holy hush of heartache, I find peace.
Sitting in grief with others is the most beautiful example of God’s love.
I don’t believe Jesus would walk over to a grieving mother and say, “There there, it’s okay, I took your daughter because she was so great! I wanted her because she was special. Here’s a hankie, wipe off those tears!”
No. I think Jesus would see me and weep with me, deeply touched and troubled by human emotion and experience. He knows because he processed extreme heartache, fear and grief in the Garden.
“Father,” he said, “help me. The weight of this world is heavy. Take this away from me.”
He taught us how to wrestle with the hard things. He showed us true humility.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:3
I think Jesus would say, “Beloved, in this world you will have trouble. You have permission to yell and cry and work through that. But in the midst of your mourning, take heart and know that I have overcome all of it. You will taste and see that I am good, right in this dust. Because I will sit with you. I will nurture and comfort you. I will let you be, nestled in the crook of my arm. I will hold you as you wail. Just come as you are.”
There is no remedy needed for grief. Grief is not a negative emotion that needs fixing. Living with sorrow is a season. It is heavier and it passes away over time. But grief does not. I sometimes sense an underlying panic when I talk about it.
Oh boy. She needs help. I feel sorry for her. I need to pray for her.
Ah. Grief. Making the world uncomfortable since the beginning. Waking us up from our numbness. Calling us away from our tiny problems.
Don’t be afraid to hold the space for those in grief. Grief needs to be experienced. In our grief, that is when the most meaningful spiritual exchanges take place.
In my grief, I see the heart of God. Because as much as we like to have these wonderful, rich lives, much of the world is suffering. Much.
I am free here. Free in my brokenness. Free to laugh. Free to cry. Grief has taught me that. It has unleashed me. It has broken my facades. And because of that, I find the grief journey to be a holy pilgrimage.
I do not have it all together.
And I don’t care.
I do not have the answers.
And I don’t care.