The Gift of Grieving Well

I’ve been remembering today how as I child I determined not to cry at the raised voices, hurt exchanged and received in my house. How as a family broke down I held my grief tight and pushed it down stamping it firm, the effort leaving fingernail marks digging into my palms.

I reflect on the small things, small sadnesses years later that would leave me weeping in ways that were totally out of proportion to the things themselves.

There were tears that needed to be shed.

There was grief that needed to be expressed.

It strikes me that we fear grief sometimes, our own and others. Like it might overwhelm us and never let us go if we dare tread into its sacred, locked away spaces. Maybe we fear the grief of others, the rawness might unwittingly unleash something in us – like their pain might accidentally undo what we have worked so hard to keep reigned in.

So, we jolly along the grieving. We minimise their pain by telling them clichés of ‘more fish in the sea’, ‘God’s good plans’, ‘what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’. That’s not to say there is no truth in these things, but

but

Like one who takes away a garment on a cold day, or like vinegar poured on a wound, is one who sings songs to a heavy heart. 

proverbs 25

we are doing a disservice to the person, and ourselves when we live like grief is not a gift to us. A journey that allows us to acknowledge pain, to honour the difficulty of rejection, hurt, disappointment.

Grief is a real state, and while we don’t want to build a city around it and set up permanent residence we have to go through it.

Sometimes it feels like the path is a maze and there is no clear way through. Sometimes we speed through only to find a seemingly insurmountable wall at the other end. Sometimes we feel like we have grieved well but we realise from time to time we have a pocket full of souvenirs from the city of sadness.

We are welcomed to journey with one another in a genuine way. We are invited, taught even to weep with those who weep. To sit on the step together and acknowledge together the feeling of another. To join them in their grief without minimising it, judging it, explaining it… just to sit.

romans 12

 

Not every grieving heart sheds seen tears but that doesn’t mean the heart is not struggling or even broken. I often think of those wise words

even in laughter the heart may ache or as another translation puts it sorrow may hide behind laughter.

If there is grief in your heart today may you find the peace and space to give yourself permission to shed the tears that need to be shed. May you find a safe place and a safe person to sit next to you in your grief and acknowledge with their presence that you are loved and worthy whatever the state of your heart.

And may we all of us know the Presence of the One who has never rejected the broken. Who has associated with us in our grief and who has walked the path of hurt, rejection, pain and taken it all up into Himself.

The One who promised he would not break a bruised reed.

May we all be brave enough to enter the sacred space of grief – our own and others. To show up and sit and weep as many tears as need to be wept and laugh if we need to do that too.

Sitting with you this moment in love and care and gentleness x

It is difficult for me to write about the pain of my parents divorcing because I know how their grief about the pain they caused is still carried by them, some 20 years on. I love my parents very much, I honour them for their loving commitment to me and for their continued inspiration in so, so many ways.

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