A friend and psychiatric nurse once told me that hospitals and nursing homes are full of people who have had painful “stuff” happen to them and they want to establish significance of those events…but they haven’t been able to do so.
People waited seventeen hours to sign a book after Prince Diana died.
People express sorrow over the loss of life ten years after 9/11 and one hundred years after the sinking of the Titanic.
Bill Cosby was a guest on David Letterman’s talk show after his son, Ennis, had been killed and before Letterman could say or ask anything, Cosby said, “Let me tell you some Ennis stories.”
After Chris’ father died, the family went out for lunch and started thinking about stories that could be told in the eulogy tomorrow.
I believe that good grief is all about establishing significance and having a hope that gifts you with perspective in your thinking and strength in your spirit to keep going. That’s Christian grief.
We do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. 1 Thessalonians 4.13 NIV
Christian grief is different. It’s grounded in truth. I love this quote from Robert Edwards –
We assume that since death and grief travel together, they are friends. Yet the exact opposite it true. Christian grief is the sworn enemy of death. It is true that grief and death are joined together, yet they are armlocked in battle, not friendship. Christian grief is how we battle against death and loss.
Christian grief mourns. Sometimes, it even wails. I’ve been there. Haven’t you? My experience is that grief is hard work. It’s painful. The tears flow and the physical pain of grief is very real. It’s not something to simply “get over.” Grief recognizes that death is real and hideous.
God has made the human heart so that we attach – to relationships, animals, things, jobs etc. When we experience loss, there comes this stirred awakening that someone/something is gone and the feelings begin to unfold. Christian grief is not stoic. It doesn’t repress. It doesn’t take shortcuts to circumvent the cold reality and the stark pain of loss. It feels deeply and it hopes strongly.
Grief and hope are true allies in our struggle against death.
Good grief involves Christ directed hope.