Health and Well-Being / I've Been Thinking

Grief is not a fast-food drive thru

I am baffled by society’s view of grief.

We often view grief as something exceedingly negative, perhaps even wrong, especially if we perceive the one grieving to be being grieving too deep or too long.

What? Is grief really something we order through the fast food drive-thru? One order of grief, and we dust off our hands, phew, that’s over with? Eat the sorrow, swallow it whole, drink back the tears, toss it back, now – done?

I cringe from this view of grief. It is shallow, knows nothing of the cavernous depths of grief. When you dare to love deeply and completely; invest fully in another human being, grief is not a pill you quaff quickly.

Grief is not linear. You do not go from A – Z.; and finally, you’re done.

Grief is circular. Around you go; and round and around again. It is the slow work of climbing up a mountainside.

Along the way you view the memories, celebrate the wonderful moments, the times together. You suffer the regrets; mistakes made in our humanness. You rewind the words spoken and unspoken.  Re-live the wonder and the pain.  Beginnings you re-play; and the ending sometimes repeatedly. You rejoice over the laughter you shared; and feel intense sorrow for the suffering you endured with and for the one you have lost.

And grief takes time. A long, long, time.

Cut grief short and we amputate our emotional growth. If we stunt agony, it buries itself deep inside us. Then anguish rears up, surprises us; brings boiling rage or sinks us in the blackest hole of depression. Our bodies tell stories that words or grief unexpressed scream out.

Grief changes us. Somehow we learn to live with grace. Grace shadows us as we walk through the day, brings relief from the heat of grief. We learn to go through another minute, hour, day.

Grief gives gifts too if we can receive them.

Grief gives the gift of compassion. It opens our eyes to all the surrounding suffering; gives us hands that reach out to those in need, who suffer and hurt.

Grief teaches that every day is a gift given. Live that day, be it challenging, joyous, or just plain difficult, stop, breath in this moment, this day.

Grief gives the gift of tears. Tears that tell the story of the one you have loved and lost. Tears that release bitterness, anger, and fear. Tears that smile with memories; the jewels we treasure.

Grief teaches us to “shower the people you love with love, show them the way that you feel… (James Taylor).” To love now with your whole heart, for tomorrow is not certain.

Grief teaches us forgiveness. To keep short accounts, forgive every day.

Grief teaches us to be vulnerable, to be real, to be authentic. Do not hide, do not pretend. When you grieve, you show others that grief is not to be shunned. That you can navigate it, live with it, survive.

One of the most poignant verses in the Bible is “Jesus wept.” (John 11:35) Why did Jesus weep? He knew Lazarus would be raised. He would call forth life out of death, yet, He wept.

So go ahead weep, grieve, cry, scream.

There is the Resurrection, our greatest Hope. Yet, we weep, as Jesus did.

We have this wondrous expectation – one Great Day we will be with those we have loved once again, we will hold them. They, made new, whole.

In that Day we will come face to face with the One who will wipe every tear from our eyes. The One who holds eternity in His hands.

Here, now, we walk through the land of grief. And as we journey we hold the nail-scarred Hands of Grace, one moment, one day, one breath at a time.

Shower the People You Love with Love by James Taylor click the link below.


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