I don’t do grief well. It’s not that I don’t cry, I cry at lots of things. It’s not that I don’t miss people and things that die and end. It’s that I don’t feel like I deserve to grieve. My pain isn’t enough to merit grief. I quickly say things like , “ya, but at least I wasn’t…” or “suck it up, you can’t change it so move on” or my favorite “get over it”.
Here’s the deal, no one ever gave me permission to grieve and because of that, I decided that I wasn’t worthy of grief. No one modeled grief for me either, so that means the people in my formative years didn’t let themselves grieve. What is a natural part of a healthy life, grief, was instead seen as weakness and/or simply unnecessary. And to compound the message I was receiving from my friends and family, society was sending me the same message in sayings like “big girls don’t cry”.
I’m betting most of us don’t lament, don’t grieve a loss well. And by well I mean, allow the feelings to surface, be felt, be named, be blessed and be released. Grief is powerful and if you don’t allow yourself to feel it as it is needed, it will wreck you in lots of different ways. Your body and spirit deserve to grieve every bit as much as they deserve to feel joy. Grief isn’t a tool of the enemy, it is a gift from a God in heaven who understands exactly what grief feels like and, who wants us to be healthy and full-spectrum emotional beings. Grief is part of the spectrum.
Grief is a reaction to loss. You can’t blow off loss, skip past it like it doesn’t matter. Whatever you lost does matter! That thing, goal, dream, person, relationship, whatever, holds value and when it/they go away or the dynamic changes, there is grief. Don’t shy away from that pain, you need it. You need it to be healthy. You need it to live authentically. You need grief to live.
Allowing yourself to grieve doesn’t take away from the places you are thankful. Grief isn’t mutually exclusive to all other emotions, it is its own. It deserves your time and attention. It deserves your curiosity and your love. It deserves your acknowledgement and your prayer.
Tonight I’m grieving. I’m grieving loss from 42 years ago up to loss from 42 days ago. I’m accepting the holy and sacred invitation to grieve the losses of my life because up until now, I’ve been too judgmental to be able. That inability is stopping me from releasing trauma that I want to release. It’s stopping me from entering deeper into who God is leading me to be and I’m finally able to say yes to experiencing the pain.
Grief won’t stay forever. It has a sacred purpose and I want that purpose to be fulfilled. I’m praying you allow unexplored and unexpressed grief to find its way into your attention. God will use it to bring healing if you allow Him.