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Monday, January 7, 2013

Taking Ownership of Our Grief

“They say time heals all wounds, but that presumes the source of the grief is finite.”
—Cassandra Clare
One of our great existential conundrums is this issue of grief. Simply, we suffer. There is both the presence of an undercurrent of grief and instances of loss we can put our hands on. Despite our joy we all have tinges of sadness that characterise our more sombre moments.
Perhaps it’s these moments we most connect to the Spirit of God. Maybe it’s these times when we are most available to the plight we all face in ordinary life.
Sorting the Truth from the Clichés
We all sense that the time-heals-all-wounds cliché is a horribly crude estimation of the healing available in the grief process. We reel out these clichés when we have nothing better to say or when we are not focused or when we are fatigued. We know when we say the words we’ve got it wrong. When we hear other people say it we just want to shrink.
Something as nebulous as grief cannot be distilled down to fit a cliché and it can’t be understood in any worthwhile terms that are meaningful for another person.
Grief is such a personal journey outbound from the event of loss. And because we are losing things all the time, our grief is constant. Then something earth-shattering happens in our lives. We are thrown headlong into a life deforming travesty of violent grief. Such an event leaves us rent with destruction. Our identities are stripped down.
Grief reconciles us to the truth in a land where clichés are a counterfeit title deed.
If there is one thing we can be thankful for in our grief, it’s that we are confronted with the truth. In grief, the counterfeit life cannot stand. Grief is a holy ground.
Tackling and Not Denying Our Grief
We go one of two ways with grief. We flounder and deny it and regress or we strangely gain strength from it; not every day, mind, but we do rise, and we do tap into a sort of resilience. We can do this when we take possession of the grief, owning it.
And owning our grief would be the best way to honour our loss. This is no sadistic pastime; we just make the grieving process the purpose of our lives in order to do justice to it.
When we take full possession of the tumultuous circumstances we take responsibility for our lives. There is no better way to thank God for life than to take full responsibility for our lives.
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Let us not pressure ourselves for healing. Time does not heal all wounds as the cliché suggests, but with time, and the courage to grieve well, we create space for a larger version of us to emerge.
Owning our grief is the best way to honour our loss. When we do this we redeem the humble strength of God.
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.

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