Words from Our Pastor

Monday, April 29, 2019

Grief, Accompanied.

I recently started leading a grief support group at the Brace YMCA.  At the moment it’s just a few folks, but the hope is that it will grow.  Creating a sacred space to safely explore our emotions—whether it’s our pain, our anger, or our sadness is vital for the health of our communities.  People grieve a number of things — sometimes it’s the loss of a spouse or loved one; sometimes it’s the loss of a job or relationship; sometimes it’s “simply” a significant change in our lives.  We grieve what was, what could have been, or what will never be.  And people grieve in different ways.  Some people withdraw and  try to avoid it by busying themselves.  Some people experience grief through sadness, anger, or numbness.  But regardless, the pain of grief is very real, and it varies from person to person.
As people of faith we are tasked with accompanying one another through whatever grief is being experienced.  Offering a loved one the space to be “real” and fully step into that pain  can be one of the greatest gifts you ever offer someone.  
The tendency to avoid grief is a cultural reality for many.  But we should avoid the tendency to try simply to “cheer someone up” (my biggest weakness) or to distract them from their grief.  These strategies might have a place at some point in the process, but overall it's usually more helpful to offer that listening ear and a loving presence over trying to “fix” the situation.
Accompanying  someone in their grief can be uncomfortable, but I encourage you to resist the temptation to avoid it or try to fix it.  Our loving presence is far more impactful than you can ever imagine.  And when we offer this to others, we are truly becoming Christ to that person, which is a powerful witness. 

See you in church,
Pastor Brook