When faced with terrible circumstances each of us has a choice to make regarding the cycle of grief. We can either choose to enter-in and submit to it fully, or pretend, behaving the way we think we ought. One of the reasons it can be so hard to navigate, is because little credence is given to the lasting effects of grief in our society. As a Christian, it is not often that we can express our deep hurt or anger without someone reminding us of God’s sovereignty. Though true, the well-intentioned reminder is not comforting if poorly timed. It is vital to understand than our need to grieve does not diminish our beliefs.
Jesus wept. Isn’t that encouraging? It is not just our weakness, it is right and proper.
Trying to cover our pain or reality with hyper-spiritual precepts or common clichés only prolongs the anguish that still resides deep within us. When grief is ignored too long there is an encampment of such that leaves us wondering why we are not experiencing healing or joy. No matter how many good and positive events there are around us, the disappointment and still unanswered questions remain.
Surrendering to the cycle and journey of grief brings healing unlike anything else. In our haste to simply move-on, we try to hold our breath emotionally, hoping it will just pass. This is exhausting because it doesn’t ever really pass. We become distracted with the next event, allowing the unresolved hurt and pain to set up residence in our soul. This creates a false belief that if we give it a small corner of our psyche, it will leave us alone. What begins as a real and reasonable response to a terrible event or circumstance, can develop into an anchor of negative responses and emotions that leave us chasing the antidote or numb from trying.
It is important to be open and available to experience the emotions that surface, rather than struggle to contrive the emotion we ought to have. It is remarkable how tightly this can all be woven together. Our willingness to admit the emotions that seem so un-Christian and face the pain, allows us to partner with a good and loving God, releasing it to His mercy. Embracing the grief process does not just happen, it is something we choose—whatever it takes, as long as it takes—because our healing can only be complete on the other side.