There are many aspects to grieving that make others uncomfortable. This is particularly true within Christian circles. Grief involves a lot of intensity, and because the emotions can vary even moment to moment, we must surround ourselves with those who can handle the extreme nature of them. We must also be courageous and humble enough to fight the temptation to isolate and hide. It can be alluring; this withdrawing so that others are not witness to the ugliest pieces of ourselves that even we were unaware existed.
We are trained at an early age to value emotional suppression. We are inundated with pictures of “strong” men and women who proudly carry on with stoic faces, while the world around them crumbles. We are told things like, “Put your big girl panties on!” and “Fake it til’ you make!” as tokens of triumphant grace.
There is no strength to be found in pretending. Our overwhelming emotions are the very thing that make us so beautifully human. God did not make robots in His image. He made human beings with the capacity to feel deeply in every way. It is a gift to feel sorrow, for how else would we learn true joy?
Anger is not a sin. The processing of anger can oftentimes be the very thing that propels us towards change. How else could we get so fed up with what is, and choose to walk out in faith towards change, unless we knew the bitter end of stagnancy?
Grief embodies all of this. We learn who we are in the most awful ways, and when we bring it to the light, we learn who we are in Him.
Grief doesn’t invite us to this dance, it demands it from us.
We are lovesick from the gift of having loved and lost. We are angry at learning the cost of what we thought was ours forever. We are hopeless at times as we discover the idols destroyed. We are being transformed into the weak and hopeless warriors who know that only He can save us. We may have known before, but now we are stripped of the secret places where this earth became our home.
But still, we hear, “Stand tall! Be brave! It’s been long enough! Life’s not fair!” and on and on they go, but I say- “Break!” Be broken as bread at the Feet of Jesus.
Find your people who will hold your hands up for you until you can! Find your people who will lower you down from the roof! Find your people who know your pain is sacred and sanctifying, and who will encourage you even while you scream, “Nonsense!” Find those who can trust the staying power of Jesus more than they do the “speaking to the wind” of a grieving soul. Find the ones who will stand in the gap for you until He raises you back to your feet…and then…go be that person for another.