“G” is for Grief (March 1, 2012)

…Opening To…

Now let us all with one accord, in company with ages past, keep vigil with our heavenly Lord in his temptation and his fast. (Gregory the Great, from The Hymnal 1982)

…Listening In…

When Mary arrived where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother wouldn’t have died.” When Jesus saw her crying and the Jews who had come with her crying also, he was deeply disturbed and troubled. He asked, “Where have you laid him?” They replied, “Lord, come and see.” Jesus began to cry. The Jews said, “See how much he loved him!” (John 11:32-35; context)

…Filling Up…

This Lent, we are exploring our faith by running through the alphabet. Today, “G” is for grief. First off, let me get this out there: no one likes grieving. Grieving is not something we choose to do. Grief happens whether we are ready for it or not, and there’s really no way outside heavy prescription drugs to control it or take the edge off it.

That being said, Charlie Brown is on to something whenever he says his catchphrase: “Good grief.” Grief, in a sense, is good. Grief happens after loss – whether the loss of a loved one or the end of a relationship or a change in what you thought the future would hold. Grief is our body and our spirit’s way of confirming to us that we, in the case of death, truly did love the person who is gone from our sight. Grief can sneak up behind us, catch us off guard, dissolve us into puddles of tears, and then give us the gift of knowing in the depths of our souls that the deceased really did matter to us.

Grief gives us a way to stay connected to the newly deceased while we move to the new normal that our lives will enter sometime after all the events surrounding the death. Grief is love’s tether to the other person. But as grief fades, the tether remains because the relationship did not die with the person. The Resurrection of Jesus Christ points to this reality, the reality that relationships do not die; rather, through the love of God, they only change. Grief is the incubator for the change in relationships as people pass life through death to new life.

Grief is a gift. It may not seem so at the time of piercing, screaming, shattering loss, but in the end, as Charlie Brown says, grief is good.

…Praying For…

Dear God, you infuse every relationship with your presence. Help me to recognize that the love I hold for people who have passed is not negated, but changed. In Jesus Christ’s name I pray. Amen.

…Sending Out…

I leave this moment with you, God, nourished by your Spirit and willing to open up a larger space within for you to dwell.

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