“People who are grieving need time to grieve. Show up, listen, and share their burden.”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – October 22, 2021
by Guest Writer Rachel Prince
(A Series Third of Three)
When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. “Where have you laid him?” he asked. “Come and see, Lord,” they replied. Jesus wept. John 11:33-35, NIV
Most of us have been close to someone who has walked through grief or the loss of a loved one. In these moments, there is a wide range of possible responses and reactions, with us often feeling unsure and ill-equipped to enter into the grief and loss of the ones we love. We long to help, but simply do not know how!
On the one hand, our deep love and care for that person can spring us into action. We seek to quickly “solve” the problem, looking for solutions to problems and anything that will help to alleviate the pain and sooth their souls. At the other end of the spectrum, our own grief and confusion over their pain leaves us at a loss, so unsure of how to help that we find ourselves avoiding the situation (or them!) altogether.
Often, these wildly different responses come from a similar and shared place. It is profoundly difficult to see the ones we love in pain, and we long to see them restored and made whole. And so, whether we jump in to fix it, or stay at arm’s length out of fear of adding to the pain, both responses can come from a place of love. However, I would like to propose a third way, a middle option that invites you to show up and be present, yet resist the urge to solve and fix situations that are beyond your control.
People who are grieving need time to grieve. They need you present and for you to show up, but not to rush their grief or force them to move along prematurely. Show up, listen, and share their burden. Enter in to the chaos and remind them that they are not alone in their sorrow, just as Jesus did when he wept with his dear friend Mary.
One of my favorite musical artists, Bethany Barnard, recently released a song called “From the Head Down”. I share these words as a reminder to each of us: be present to God and to one another, trusting that the Lord is near to the brokenhearted and with us, and those we love, in our pain.
It’s a lie
You’ve gotta have something wise to say
You’ve gotta make it all okay
That bar’s too high
But if it’s your only card to play
Of course you’ll stay away
But what if Your nearness
Lightened my burden?
What if compassion
Looked like being present?
It might feel small
But it’s more than you could ever know
It’s kept my heart afloat
Thе law of love
Fulfilled as you come undеr the yoke
And walk with me toward Home
Father, thank you that you are with us and never leave us in our time of need. Help us to be a source of your love to others through the gift of our presence. Amen.
With whom can you be present and walk with them in their grief with patience and love?
Bethany Barnard: From the Head Down
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