learning to be in the holy hush of heartache

November 4, 2015, Michaela Evanow, 11 Comments

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.

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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.

Because the God of all comfort has given me permission to come as I am.
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11 Comments

  • Reply Food for Thought - Family Synapse November 16, 2015 at 5:14 AM

    […] Learning to be in the holy hush of heartache […]

  • Reply Food for Thought - Family Synapse November 16, 2015 at 5:14 AM

    […] Learning to be in the holy hush of heartache […]

  • Reply Amy Hunt November 6, 2015 at 6:13 AM

    Michaela,

    There is so much God has spoken to my heart about in terms of grief during the past several months. And this, this is it. I’ve said so much that so many people say and I need to say, I’m sorry. I didn’t not know and was not aware and often times my ignorance has hurt others, and mostly it has hurt myself. I’ve not accepted the grief. I’ve always tried to fix it and move on from it. I’ve not held the “in between” and the “not yet” that we are when we just are, as we are sometimes. What you said here is the most important thing that I think the world needs to hear. Because it’s truly the point of God’s love. No, He didn’t intend death. He doesn’t use death. He weeps over it, too. And, He holds us in the space of it and loves us so much that He has fought for us. Redemption, peace . . . these are the things He promises He will give us and we can trust Him; even though we don’t always and we wrestle and fight because we long for Home, the place where we were first intended to be where death is not. He says: “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.” Yes, this.

  • Reply Diana Trautwein November 4, 2015 at 9:31 PM

    Beautifully said. Thank you.

  • Reply Sue November 4, 2015 at 10:03 AM

    I love that you aren’t afraid to feel.
    Love you
    Sue

    • Reply Michaela Evanow November 4, 2015 at 10:44 AM

      Thanks, Sue.
      xox

  • Reply Donna-Jean Brown November 4, 2015 at 9:43 AM

    Michaela, I wasn’t going to even read your post this time because I am in the middle of a crisis, but our faithful and tender God nudged me not to delete your piece. Sure enough it was written for me as well as the many others. My husband is having brain surgery – a sudden horror that has fallen upon us – and I dread the future possibilities.
    Thank you for choosing to share what you are bearing so that others of us can trust Christ’s “easy yoke”.

    • Reply Michaela Evanow November 4, 2015 at 10:44 AM

      Oh no. Donna-Jean!!! Oh no! I am so sorry to hear this. Oh, my heart breaks for what you are going through. Thank you, thank you for sharing. Many prayers for you.
      And love.
      xo

      • Reply Donna-Jean Brown November 5, 2015 at 5:02 AM

        Thank you for your true empathy about how awful this is. So many just want me to be strong, telling me everything will be fine, when of course we cannot know that. We can know only that God will be with us, and that doesn’t always FEEL like enough even though we BELIEVE it will be enough.

  • Reply Carly November 4, 2015 at 7:42 AM

    So beautifully written!! I have found many times that people in the church don’t know what to say about my mama grief or want to make it go away. Thank-you for articulating the process. God Bless!

    • Reply Michaela Evanow November 4, 2015 at 10:43 AM

      Thanks for sharing, Carly. Sometimes the church does have a weird way of avoiding the topic or wanting it to go away. xo

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