in General


Grief from loss.

It is a terrible warm blanket, seducing you to set things aside, settle in, and relax in the comfort of sadness. Grief dulls passion, and blurs the clarity of a sun-lit ideascape.

Grief is noticing over and again the permanent absence of something which was beautiful, and each time newly feeling the ache of knowing that can even happen. Grief is those moments when your mouth smiles, but your eyes do not.

You don’t move past deep grief from loss. It is not a chapter; it is a thread of the story’s fabric. Grief is the color of the ink on the page – less content, more substance. Grief is a gentle sadness unfairly wed to joy through memory, sometimes raging from its quiet confidence into debilitating largeness.

Living with grief necessitates sunlight. Perhaps not the literal rays of the sun, although that too, but clarity of vision toward the achy strangeness of loss. A vocalization of your place in it at this moment, and permission for God and your people to be in it with you.

Grief brings brokenness, but brokenness does not carry the weakness we ascribe to it. There is humility in brokenness, and that humility brings a shift in perspective. A deeper searching, a greater desire for meaningful relationship, a stronger attention toward those of us who carry brokenness. I also feel a pull in this brokenness, toward tranquility and wisdom over ambition and vogue. I fail at this, and second-guess myself, but undeservingly rest in grace and keep after it.

Ecclesiastes 4:6 Better one handful with tranquillity than two handfuls with toil and chasing after the wind.

Ecclesiastes 9:17 The quiet words of the wise are more to be heeded than the shouts of a ruler of fools. 18 Wisdom is better than weapons of war, but one sinner destroys much good.

Maybe grief has no will, and should not be given the hat-tip of personification. Maybe grief is only the discovering of a truth which is not easy: that loss is a natural destination of possession, of nearness. That life is fragile, and not promised. That “fair” is fable, or more likely simply isn’t what our immature minds told us it meant; what our comfort begs us to wish it means.

I am told we will see our children again. I wish this gave me more peace. It gives me some. It’s hard to visualize what it means. Still – whatever Heaven is like, it is not the same as here, and we have lost them here. We have lost that beautiful moment of decades exploring this odd and magical world together, of crying and laughing and learning and falling apart. We cannot have those things back, and my God, how I long for them.

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  1. From *A Grace Disguised*
    Jerry Sittser

    “Loss creates a barren present, as if one were sailing on a vast sea of nothingness… This barrenness can be overwhelming. “Will this emptiness continue forever?” we ask ourselves. “Will I feel this way for the rest of my life?” “Am I doomed to sail forever on a vast sea of nothingness?” These questions expose the depths of sorrow to which people who suffer…loss often descend… Sorrow never entirely leaves the soul of those who have suffered a severe loss. If anything, it may keep going deeper. But this depth of sorrow is the sign of a healthy soul, not a sick soul. It does not have to be morbid and fatalistic. It is not something to escape but something to embrace. Jesus said, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” Sorrow indicates that people who have suffered loss are living authentically in a world of misery, and it expresses the emotional anguish of people who feel pain for themselves or for others. Sorrow is noble and gracious. It enlarges the soul until the soul is capable of mourning and rejoicing simultaneously, of feeling the world’s pain and hoping for the world’s healing at the same time. However painful, sorrow is good for the soul.”