Day 1 - Sitting with Grief
I've experienced the death of my mother to cancer, watching her health slowly fail.
I've experienced the death of my son at birth, full-term, for reasons nobody can tell us.
My wife became chronically ill due to the actions taken to try and save my son, and with the illness went our ability to have a biological child or live a normal life that most people take for granted.
I've lost friends and co-workers, gone far too soon.
I've experienced the traumatic, sudden, and violent death of my father, who fell down the stairs in his home all by himself and hit his head so hard he never recovered. To make matters worse, it was during the coronavirus pandemic, so my family and I were not allowed in the hospital, and he died without us there.
I'm not even 40, but I've already experienced a life-time worth of grief and trauma.
If there is one thing I've learned about grief it's that it cannot be rushed. Your feelings and emotions cannot be bottled in...at least for long. The storm needs to rage. The hurt needs to be expressed. As author, John Green, wrote, "That's the thing about pain. It demands to be felt."
What you need to know, though, is that you are not alone. Though the person you lost was unique, everything you're feeling, someone else has felt before. In fact, right at this very moment, there are lots of people around the world feeling almost exactly how you feel. I don't bring this up to minimize your pain...there's nothing minimal about it! No, I mention this to help remind you that in and through our suffering, we're connected not only to each other, but also to Christ.
Today, we're going to spend some time in the book of Lamentations. Lamentations is a book by an anonymous author reflecting on the siege of Jerusalem and the exile that followed. The pain and isolation this author felt may sound familiar to you.
Today, I want you to know that it's ok for you to feel your pain. It's normal and expected for you to be overwhelmed. You have permission to cry. You can yell. You can scream. You can be angry. God understands what you are going through and knows your pain, intimately. And all this goes double for anybody in our society, especially men, who were taught they have to keep their emotions hidden. Even Jesus cried after he lost someone special.
We serve a God who has intimate knowledge of what it feels like to love and lose. Though it may not feel like it right now, God is with you.