Comfortable?

One of the lessons grief teaches us is that it is impossible to imagine the death of a loved one or be comforted before the actual experience of death. Although Jesus tried to comfort his disciples in advance of his death with the promise of the Holy Spirit and the assurance of eternal life, his friends did not really understand what he meant. How could they? Jesus was still alive and well, entirely present to them in body and in spirit. And although Jesus knew he would die, the time frame for his disciples was very short—Jesus went from triumph to tragedy in less than a week. When he died, they were in complete shock. They were at once overwhelmed by the confusion and disbelief of grief, the same grief we experience when the death of one we love is sudden and unexpected.

The Passion of Grief

During this week when much of the world observes the sacred days of Passover, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter, the underlying theology of each holy day centers on the power of death, the intensity of grief, and the joy of redemption.

Grief and Lent

The premise of Lent is that it is a time of spiritual introspection and self-examination that can lead us toward a renewed, stronger faith and a closer relationship with God. The observance of Lent is a little like the soulful contemplation most of us experience at some time in our grief.

Collateral Grief

In our present-day society, we are regularly confronted with acts of violence that are at once shocking and simply unimaginable. If we scrutinize the images of survivors, friends, colleagues, and loved ones we see in their faces the unspeakable pain and sorrow of intense, personal grief. The picture of a heartbroken mother with the cross of Ash Wednesday still freshly signed on her forehead told the story of shock, destruction, and despair that devastated the entire community of Parkland, Florida, and indeed the entire world on a holy day of remembrance.

On Being Loving

As most of us have learned from the past two years of pandemic limitation and uncertainty, grief is not limited to the experience of death. During this challenging period in our history, most everyone has experienced grief in some way. Some grieve the loss of a job or a home; others grieve the loss of a relationship; still others grieve because of a divorce or separation from a spouse, family, or friends.

Pandemic Grief

When the normal rhythm of life in community is interrupted by a catastrophic global event, the effect is that life all around us is radically upended by a deep sense of loss of control. The pause around the world is marked by a pendulum of emotions and events that swings in a wide arc between hope and despair every day.

Regifting

Giving something that we have received to someone else is known as regifting, a practice that has been around for a long time but one that has become more openly acceptable in recent years. The urge to recycle our stuff is driven by a desire to rid ourselves of those things we do not want or need and will never use. We think that our castoffs might be used or enjoyed by someone else, so we pass them along as “gifts”.

The Noise of Christmas

According to Helen Keller, who was both blind and deaf, “The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision.” Gratefully, most of us will never know what it feels like to be blind and live in darkness or to be deaf and live in silence. Yet when we grieve the death of one we love, for a while we are spiritually blind. We grope our way through the darkness of grief because we cannot see the light of new life. In the presence of God our heart is transformed from darkness into light. In Emmanuel, we behold a clear vision for the rest of our lives.

Reluctance

At this time of the year, whatever festival or occasion we celebrate, most of us can recall a vignette of some kind that is part of our personal lore of the season. Some experiences we cherish and remember for a lifetime, others persist in memory, though in truth maybe they are better forgotten.

A Grateful Heart

Though it may seem like a paradox of extremes, grief and gratitude are inextricably linked. Gratitude is an aspect of grief that seems oddly counterintuitive to our experience of loss and sadness. When it comes right down to it, who is ever really grateful for the experience of grief? However we reconcile the effect of death and grief on our heart and spirit, when the final outcome of all our pain and sorrow is deep gratitude for the sacred gift of life, we are transformed both emotionally and spiritually by the death of one we love.

Steady Change

When we stop to consider everything that’s happened since the death of our loved one we realize that our lives have changed – dramatically and irrevocably.

Changing Forward

Grief is an inevitable part of both life and death. Since this website was first launched almost ten years ago, the number of people whose lives have been forever changed by death has increased exponentially. Likely this number will continue to grow. While the fundamental nature of grief remains unchanged, our personal, individual experience of grief has become more layered and more multidimensional because of the frequency, intensity, and alarming regularity with which death occurs in the wounded world in which we live.
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