I John 3:18

All original content copyright Jessica Nicole Schafer, 2007-2016.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Shut Up Already!

I've written about my own grief for over three years. I've talked about how way too often (not always, but often enough) people ignore grief, as if ignoring it will make the grief disappear.....or better yet my own experience has been that others see someone hurting and ignore their pain, hoping to shut them up. This thinking runs rampant throughout American churches, as well.

“It is hard to have patience with people who say, ‘There is no death’, or ‘Death doesn’t matter.’ There is death. And whatever is matters. And whatever happens has consequences, and it and they are irrevocable and irreversible. You might as well say that birth doesn’t matter. I look up at the night sky. Is anything more certain than that in all those vast times and spaces, if I were allowed to search them, I should nowhere find her face, her voice, her touch? She died. She is dead. Is the word so difficult to learn?” -C.S. Lewis in “A Grief Observed”

Lewis makes some great points in the above quote. 1) Death IS real, and it DOES matter. 2) It has consequences that can't be changed. 3) Talking as if it doesn't matter is equal to saying our own lives don't matter.

Each event in life brings on changes....some make things worse, some will make life much better. Either way, changes make us think of our loved ones who are gone. If I'm sad, if more tragedy happens, I find myself reaching out for Momma. If I'm lonely, discouraged, I find myself wanting to call her and just cry and let it all out....because she is definitely the one person who would listen and care in more ways than even I understand. She's my Momma. I'm a Momma...I know if my son is hurting, I hurt doubly so.

Again, I will say, I write for those out there who are grieving fiercely for their loved one(s)...for those who have been made to feel stupid by others for talking about their pain...for those who are carrying this burden alone...I've been there. I know others have been there. And many, MANY times, I have cried out, spoken out, poured out my very heart to people only to find that I've been pouring my very soul into a bottomless pit that spews out nothing but empty words, and makes me feel like I'm "less than" for actually STILL talking about hurting and grieving-three years after the Deep Sadness happened. But that is NOT the case with God. That's not the case with many others, either.

I get it. I get that some don't like to hear about the hurt death causes. I get that some feel uneasy when a person speaks of their hurts. I get that some want me to "get over it already!!"....which yes, I have been told...I get that hearing about pain is NOT EASY...it costs us something. It costs us something, deep within, when we CHOOSE to hurt with those around us who are hurting.

And each and every time I think about the uneasiness of carrying other's burdens, of listening to another person's pain....of the cost it is to us, be it our time, our words, even our tears...I think of Him...I think of a cross....I think of a Saviour who hears us. I think of my husband who carries this burden with me. My two best friends in the world who never cease to pray for me when I let them know out of nowhere, that I'm just having a hard day. I think of those dear people I know who carry around open wounds that many people silence with their heartless words, and sometimes by even quoting a select Bible verse to make them feel justified in their heartlessness!!

I have grown SO ENTIRELY WEARY of having to defend my faith, my grief, my tears, my fear, my broken heart. Is it not enough that I’ve gone through all of the hell of the past three years, which has been much more than losing Her, that I have to now defend my hurts?? Is it not enough that I cry over that, but have to tiptoe around what I say to others?? Is it not enough that I carry a heart that’s cracked in half, a spirit that’s been wounded by those who claim to be the “faithful” ones, that I have to now become silent for fear of being told again and again to “shut up already!”??? It frustrates me, to say the least. It HURTS me. YET, what hurts me EVEN MORE is knowing that this happens to other people every. Single. day. THAT is what I will spend my days forever trying to change.

So for whatever reason, be it stubbornness, or mercy…..I can’t stop. I can’t stop thinking of the people I know (and don’t know) who are hurting beyond words…..and have been told by people, namely the church, how they “should be” dealing with their grief, and how they should just sit down, shut up, smile, and move on.
You, the one hurting…..your broken heart is precious to Him. Your tears are caught by Him. Your deep grief, your broken heart, it is NOT a sign of weakness. On the contrary, it’s a sign of FAITH. For when we are true to the hurt that He, Himself hands us…..we’d be nothing less than human (created in His image) if we cried out to Him. When we truly offer Him, and one another our ENTIRE selves…..we are being nothing BUT honest.
We are being nothing but vulnerable, needy, and broken children who need comfort from our Heavenly Father……….I ask you, what kind of a parent would turn away such a heart???

And if we agree that we should NEVER turn a heart away like that…..then I ask W H Y do we treat one another this way?!?!?

It needs to end.

Find someone who’s hurting, and comfort them. Find someone who’s crying, and cry with them. Find someone who’s depressed and love on them. Find someone who’s alone and be with them. Find someone who’s been betrayed and be faithful to them. Find someone who’s grieving, and grieve with them. Are these not MORE ways to share the gospel???

If we don’t truly grasp the deep pain that death brings, the sting of the grave, the absence of a loved one, then how on earth can we pretend to understand the entire Easter event?