Thinking Out Loud: Comprehending Our Various Losses
Sorrow, misery, sadness, anguish, pain, distress, heartache, heartbreak, and agony; these are some synonyms for grief. It can be hard to find the good in those feelings, but it’s there. To name a few: 1) Pain tells us that we are alive. 2) The powerful feelings of losing someone significant to your life is a universal feeling that bonds us together as human beings. 3) Sorrow has a refining influence on us.
Let’s talk a bit more about each of these. 1) Pain tells us that we are alive. If our nerves are dead, we don’t feel. That’s a problem. Being able to feel keeps us safe. For instance, if we put our hand on a hot stove,we may loose the use of our hand if the burn is too severe. Pain tells us to do something to protect our hands. Likewise, emotional pain tells us that we are alive. I’ve heard it said that it is better to love deeply and experience the deep pain of the loss, than to have never experienced that depth of love. I would agree.
2) We unite through the various forms of grief. We unite through the understanding we gain when grief comes through unfinished business. When my younger brother died, it was a very emotional experience because he was agood person with so much to live for with his family and friends. I had so much that I wanted to share with him. The many opportunities to do just that would never come due to his life ending seemingly way too soon. I wanted to thank him for being there with me during all our moves as young children and for being so generous to our mother and father. I always had a burning desire to share the love of Jesus with him, but that door was shut tightly with his death.
We unite through the understanding we gain when grief comes in the precious way of a person who successfully completes his
life journey, with no unfinished relational business. Six weeks before my mother slipped over to the other side. She knew what she was facing, and she wanted to talk to me about what was coming down the road with her disease. My precious mother was raised with a rough background of crushed dreams and hurtful experiences. Before she became a lover of Jesus, she could hold her own with any foul-mouthed sailor. In her final weeks, she was very sweet and kind to the people around her at the hospice house. We–my sisters and I–were so proud of her attitude and sweet spirit. It would be her Savior and Lord (whomshe received as an adult in her forties) who would come to take her to Heaven. Knowing that truth brought her a lot of comfort and strength.
Once, she said, “Everything we believe is real. There is no need to be afraid. I’m tired of living on this old earth. I am ready for what Jesus has prepared for me. You have to stay and do your work. One day, we will meet up in a glorious place that isn’t bound by human understanding. It will seem like tomorrow when we will all spend eternity in the pure love and light of our Lord Jesus.” Her big smile told me it was all true, and that God’s wonderful Son had truly touched her heart.
3) And lastly, sorrow has a refining influence on us. The Bible tells us in Ecclesiastes 7:3,4 “Sorrow is better than laughter, for sadness has a refining influence on us. Yes, a wise man thinks much of death, while the fool thinks only of having a good time now.” Why would a man be wise to think much of death? Could it be so he will gain some insight and clear direction of things that can be changed while there is time to make the changes? How about changes that will create a more lasting legacy to help the next generation? Changes that will help those your life touches right now? Think about changes that will make it easier for all concerned when it’s your turn to enter eternity.
So, back to our synonyms of grief–sorrow, misery, sadness, anguish, pain, distress, heartache, heartbreak, and agony. Feelings we don’t typically want to experience. Feelings that help us feel alive, connect deeply, and make adjustments for a more effective contribution to our part in history.
Lastly, when those deep feelings are experienced, the spiritual heart can’t always contain the pain,and it is felt physically. It is a literal heartache that drives us to seek help that comes from God. The simplest of prayers can move heaven to come to your aid. Prayers such as “Help me, God.” “I need You, Heavenly Father.” “Show Me what I need to see.” “Open my eyes.” “I hurt.” “Please be involved in my life.”
John T. Catrett, III
Scissortail Hospice Chaplain
306 North Main Street, Suite E
Bristow, OK 74010