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Good Grief!!

In light of the death of a friend’s baby, I have been contemplating the grief the mother and family, and even surrounding friends, are feeling. It has brought anew the grief I haven’t felt for a while for my own lost baby.

When someone grieves something – really grieves, it’s hard to imagine anyone else could possibly feel the same thing….that utterly earth-shattering pain, pain that literally makes your heart feel like it will stop, an ache so great that absolutely nothing in this world can compare…nothing. It’s a grief that will make you double over. It will take your breath away for days at a time. It will make you cry dry tears. And worst of all, that feeling that you can’t make it go away. There is no pain reliever. There is no cure. It must be endured. This is the kind of grief I speak of. At the time, you think it’s horrible, wretched even. It’s worse than any physical pain. But the scars run deeper than any physical pain ever could.

I’ve been through this kind of grief on more than one occasion in my life. Each time, I’m convinced that God is a mean, horrible God for allowing such feelings…until the pain and grief subsides and I think, ‘I made it.  It ended.’  But this week, I’ve considered.  What does grieving give me that’s NOT painful?  What do we as a people get out of this process?  Peace? Sometimes.  Not really in my case.  I think we get the blessing of a strengthened character, a story to encourage others with, a testimony to share with the world.  We have fears subside even in some ways.  If you’re a woman reading this, you may know what childbirth is like.  You may have been fearful with the first child of what the pain was going to entail.  Now that you’re through it you, at the very least, know what to expect the next time (if there is a next time).  When we are put through trials that cause this extreme grief, it is the same.  We, at the very least, can know what to expect the next time…except we hope there isn’t a next time.  We can also know that there is a light at the end.  It will end, or at least subside to a point where you can function.  We are left with a testimony of some sort – a testimony of God’s provision, a testimony of people’s love, a testimony of healing, of making it through.  We are able to encourage others with our experiences.  We are able to better help them because we really DO know what they are feeling.  And we are able to do it anywhere, with anyone, in any country because grief speaks the same language everywhere.  We are granted more compassion and more love for those enduring the same or similar situations.  We are better able to help them through than someone who may not have experienced the same thing.

Grief is good.  It’s a blessing.  I don’t wish it on anyone, but I know – from experience – that I was made stronger, more compassionate, more loving, and better able to withstand pain in my life due to my experiences with grief.  My song is louder.  My heart is more prepared.  I made it through.  We are getting a lot out of grieving whether we know it or not at the time.  I am heartbroken for my friends.  I am pained for their loss.  I am more pained because I know what that feeling is of losing a child.  But I also know that they will not die from their broken hearts.  They will endure, and their testimony will be even stronger, their love even bigger, and their compassion even greater.

We were promised sufferings.  They were part of the program.  We were even told, “Blessed are they that mourn.”  – C.S. Lewis

He will heal the broken-hearted and bind up their wounds.  – Psalm 147:3

While we are mourning the loss of our friend, others are rejoicing to meet him behind the veil.  – John Taylor