I had intentions of sharing some resources with you today to help our self care and prayer life at home, I’ll plan to do that later this week. But this morning I came across an article: That Discomfort You’re Feeling is Grief and I thought it was definitely something that resonated with me and might with you. David Kessler has written many books on grief and shares ways to explain what we’re going through during this strange time.
Many of you have felt unimaginable grief in past years, losing ones you love. Some of you haven’t quite processed what’s going on around us, it’s almost like anticipated grief, we don’t know who Co-Vid 19 is going to affect physically but we absorb stories from the news and picture our own loved ones in them. But things are changing so fast around us, our lives are in a standstill so we’re grieving what our lives could be right now and what they are instead, and we have nobody to cling onto because we need to stay away from others. Kessler says
“we’re feeling a number of different griefs. We feel the world has changed, and it has. We know this is temporary, but it doesn’t feel that way and we realize things will be different. Just as going to the airport is forever different from how it was before 9/11, things will change and this is the point at which they changed. The loss of normalcy; the fear of economic toll; the loss of connection. This is hitting us and we’re grieving. Collectively. We are not used to this kind of collective grief in the air.”
I’m reminded as I read this of the story of Jesus and Lazarus in John 11. If we were following the lectionary this year, it would be the passage we’d read this Sunday. I have used this many times at funerals, as there are so many characters in it: Martha, Mary, Jesus, Thomas, and of course, Lazarus, and they all react differently to his death just as many react differently to any sort of grief. But most importantly in this story, Jesus wept. Jesus wept for his best friend, he wept for his friends who didn’t understand that death wasn’t the end. “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.” Jesus said. But he wept anyway.
What Kessler suggests in this article is that grieving is important, you need to grieve all this. He emphasizes that if it gets physically too much there are a few ways to deal with it and make it less intense. His list is to:
- Find balance in the things you are thinking (But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.- Romans 8:25)
- Come into the present (Do not worry about what tomorrow brings-Matthew 6:34)
- Let go of what you can’t control ( How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? -Matthew 7:4)
- Stock up on Compassion (‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’-Luke 10:27)
I think you can add to this list: pray, which kind of blends all four things, invite Jesus to take on your pain and weep for you. Since of course he already has done that. But in this article, the best advice was the last sentence: “Let yourself feel the grief and keep going.”
Our prayer today comes from the book of common worship for use in a funeral:
God of boundless compassion,
Our only sure comfort in distress:
Look tenderly upon your children overwhelmed by loss and sorrow.
Lighten our darkness with your presence and assure us of your love.
Enable us to see beyond this place and time to your eternal kingdom,
Promised to all who love you in Christ the Lord. Amen