I John 3:18

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

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Speaking on Sorrow

On all the times someone is invited to speak about things they believe God has done in their lives at Churches, gatherings, or any speaking event...when I go through my memory, I remember all the good things we speak of.  How God has healed us, or someone we know.  How God has provided for someone in some way.  How God has answered our prayers.  And rightly so, these are things to be thankful for, and speak on, of course!

I can think of zero times someone spoke on the grief they live with.  Granted, some people don't speak publicly, which is understood.  But not only that, it seems as though speaking about sorrows like that would just be unacceptable.  And I mean truly speak...I mean being able to say the hard things.  Things like, "I needed a lot of help this week, help only a Mother could give.  But she is gone, so I did without."....."I watched a Mother with her baby today, and wished so badly I could hold my own, but I cannot."....."The one closest to me in the world is gone, and I need them now, but all that is left is my memory." 

Why are we not doing this with grief? With loss?  With the sorrow so many of us live with for such big parts of our lives???

We need to be better with talking about grief.  When it comes to the Church, being the Church, we can't pretend great griefs are not here, and only talk about the good things. No, I am not saying one must absolutely speak about their grief, we are all different.  Some people simply will not share things like this, and that is their own decision.  I'm particularly thinking of those who so badly need to talk about it, but have no place to, and have no idea where to begin.  When it comes to a Body of people coming together, worshipping, etc., we seem to forget the sacredness of grief.  We forget that crying out to God, asking where this God is, lamenting....these things ARE worship.  I fully believe nothing but the presence of God would be felt if this happened in the buildings the Church gathers in more often.  We have gotten good with wanting to end a story on a positive note, put a positive spin on all sad situations, and wanting to make everything uplifting.  We crave motivation, and we like to motivate others.  *But what if we just let love motivate us to grieve with one another?*  Because there are things that happen in this life...tragedies, death...that will never be positive, and they will never be uplifting.  That is just the way it is, and what beauty to be lived when we choose to navigate through these places of sadness alongside one another!

Think about all the things we celebrate each year, and we celebrate very well together!  We have birthdays, we bring gifts, we eat all the cake!
I wonder why we don't have more occasions to remember the lives that we miss so dearly, and have actual moments set aside to honour the birthdays that would have been, if our loved ones were still here.
I have been thinking about that so much.  Maybe I'll start doing that every February 7th.
Even as I write that, I think of all the people who would think what an odd or weird thing that would be.

Therein lies the problem with how we view death and grief. We are not good at walking this walk together once someone dares to put their sorrow into words.  Of course we may feel uncomfortable, but how do we expect to feel when speaking on, or hearing about someone's loved one who is no longer here??  Maybe it's better we think on the discomfort of those who live with this daily.
It's part of the reason I write so much, because I'm still finding new ways to live with this grief. Just as we grow, years fly by, seasons change...and so does the grief we carry. We should expect it to change, because we change.  But just as we are still here, so is the absence of our loved one.  Many of us know all too well when we wake up, yes...they are still gone...they are not coming back.
I've never been one to sweep things under the rug. So no, I'll never be able to do that with the very real absence that now exists where my Momma once was.
I wish we would try to hand over something better to people seeking places to merely be themselves, and truly come as they are with their sorrow. Not to find answers. Not to find reasons. Not to find platitudes. But to be able to voice their hurt and sorrow and grief, and find that they are surrounded by people who will sit with them in these sorrowful places, just as (I believe) Jesus would have us do.

If there were such a place we could come to, crying about, speaking about, seeking hugs, or just seeking a place to *be* with our grief, calling on one another for support, and crying out to a God who has been silent...Church should be on the top of that list.

 *I will say if someone did choose to speak on their heavy grief at the place our family gathers every week.....these people would probably all cry together, hug one another, share in the sorrow, and then we'd all make some good ol' casseroles. For a place like this in our lives, my husband and I are so grateful. But I also know places like that are very rare.*

I think it's time we start changing the way we talk about grief.
If we start doing that, we can love one another better.
Even in grief, love will answer best.

Sometimes I wonder what it would be like if we truly did worship as they did in the Psalms. Out of the depths of hurt and pain and sorrow and doubt and abandonment and confusion and absence and silence.......

"But I, O LORD, have cried out to You for help, and in the morning, my prayer comes before you.  O LORD, why do You reject my soul?  Why do You hide Your face from me?"
Psalm 88:13-14

If you have been there, in a place full of nothing but hurt...if you know the deep ache many of us carry, please know you are not alone.  Your grief is sacred, it is sacred, it is sacred...

*Love has no end, nor the grief that holds its hand.*