Good Grief

Good Grief

"I am worn out from sobbing. All night I flood my bed with weeping, drenching it with my tears." Psalm 6:6 NLT

Months passed. She only got worse.

Losing a spouse must be hard. I've never done it-at least, not by death-but I've known many who have. I've performed funerals for their loved one, comforted them, prayed for them, visited them, taken food to them, and counseled them. Most adapt quicker than I wonder if I would.

But Bennie didn't. She and her husband had been married for many years. His death was unexpected. She was unprepared. Lost is a good word to describe her. Lost financially, and lost emotionally. Lost weight too. She sought counseling from several pastors, from grief experts, and from friends. All told her the same thing-she was going to have to move forward-but she couldn't seem to take the first step.

Then one day-after many months had passed, too many some might say-she made the turn. She moved past the crying and her inability to function, went back to work, fixed herself up, and got on with her life. Like the psalmist, Bennie was worn out from sobbing, but God was faithful in seeing her through.

People grieve differently. Some a short time, others a long time. Some cry while others never shed a tear. Some hold on to their loved one's possessions, not changing a thing, while others sell or give away everything associated with their memory.

Regardless of how we grieve, grieving is necessary. The alternative is repression and depression. Jesus grieved over the death of his good friend, Lazarus. Grief heals the emotions associated with loss.

Elizabeth Kubler Ross suggests people pass through stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and finally acceptance. Having spent much time with those who grieve, I believe she's right. They may not do it in the same order or spend the same amount of time in each stage, but the stages are present and normal.

Moving on doesn't mean we've forgotten our loved one or the love we had. It simply means we understand God doesn't want us to be stuck in grief so that we are unusable in His kingdom's work. God walks with us through the grieving process, and thereafter. Getting involved in others' lives, as Bennie did, is a good way to process grief and move forward.

When loss comes, take time to grieve. Then move on into God's new future for you.

Martin Wiles Hodges, South Carolina, USA

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