This last week has been strange; it’s been heavy. Our friends back in California lost their one-year-old. Another friend’s sister suddenly passed away. And yet another friend lost someone near and dear completely out-of-the-blue. These losses may not have taken place in my own life, but I can feel the loss and the weight of the grief. It comes with the territory of being an intense feeler. It also comes from the place in me that knows grief.
The suddenness of loss amplifies the strangeness of grief. Sometimes the grief is there full force. In other moments, it’s almost as if you can forget the loss amidst a moment laughter, a blip of lightness and levity. Obvious things may bring a new wave of grief about; they may not. The most random thing may cause grief to rush in like a thief in the night. There’s no telling. Grief may never leave. But what will change is the form it takes. What grief looks like immediately after loss will not look the same as it will years later. But it’s still there.
Grief. It’s a messy, beautiful pain. It’s a pain that reminds us of someone or something we no longer have. It’s nostalgia laced with loss. It’s memories mixed with missing and longing. It’s reminders of what once was while being a reality of something that still takes tenured residence in us.
We can’t run from it. We don’t want to get lost in it. We all dance differently with grief. Some will navigate it more quickly than others. That’s OK. We’re different. We process differently. There’s a grace in grief. There’s a gift in grief. The charge is to be open enough to receive it and let it do it’s healing work in us.
And something that I cling onto is this: “The Lord is near to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” We are not alone in our grief. And there is comfort for the crushed places in our hearts.
If you’re in this holiday season and also walking in grief, I pray that there’s a deep peace that pierces your heart as you grieve. I ,for one, believe you can simultaneously be in both. That’s the tension we live in–in a world full of beauty and full of pain. This is the reality of the now and not yet of–the reality of heaven touching earth and of heaven not fully here yet.