Friday, 3 February 2023
I haven’t really written a “Mornings on the Front Porch” in a long time. When my parents died, my voice was silenced. It’s like all the air got sucked out of the room; I was left gasping for air. I’ve tried to write but it’s only occurred with unhappy results as the lack of anything published indicates. I have realized that I need to give voice to something other on the front porch.
I’ve most often focused on God in the everyday in these reflections. They have been far more outward focused with far less of my own interior landscape showing. I can’t write those pieces now. Instead, I must give voice to something important and powerful which shapes all of us. Grief. None of us are immune to this very human experience.
Jesus understood grief. He stood outside Lazarus’ tomb and wept. Pastors may be amused at Sunday School classes memorizing the “shortest verse in the bible,” but it is a profound and powerful verse. Jesus, like me, stood at the graveside of one whom he loved and wept the tears of grief. “God with us” becomes more than just a “pie in the sky” idea. Jesus weeps alongside us, alongside me, just like me.
I have not been unique in grieving the loss of parents. We all walk this pathway at some time in our lives. I am incredibly blessed that I had my parents with me until their late 80s and 90s. Not everyone is so blessed. Another part of grief is to begin to see the blessings, the places for gratitude, in the loss. I once heard this part of the grieving experience as “giving meaning to our memories.” In some instances, it is giving new meaning to those old memories. It’s part of the process of grieving: We find what is important to us in the process, at least I did.
Grief is seductive. I was lured into the sense of “finished,” “closure,” and “completed” once the service was finished and other such matters attended too. Grief didn’t work that way for me. Grief sticks around. Grief lingers like a unpleasant odor. If we experience grief as “bad,” I think we can become spiritually, emotionally, and even physically unwell from grief. However, I have learned grief is neither good nor bad. I bring those ideas to grief. Grief is uncomfortable for sure. Yet, there is nothing about grief which can harm me. I harm myself when I react to grief rather than respond to my grief.
In the coming weeks, I’ll be writing more about grief and my personal journey with it. I hope my reflections are helpful to you. It is my prayer that you will find comfort and solace in your days of grief.