At this stage in my grief journey I have learned to exercise the “just ignore it” muscle that allows me to scroll through Facebook without taking comments personally.
Most of the time.
But yesterday a grieving mama posted a tribute to her missing daughter complete with a beautiful photo collage and a sweet message that included sharing her feelings.
This mama revealed that her heart was broken, that she missed her daughter and that she was oh, so proud of her and thankful for the years they had together.
Many comments were simply, “Praying for you” or “Love you”.
But one comment stuck out. This person said, “She wouldn’t want you to be sad. She’s at peace in heaven with Jesus.”
How is that helpful?
In a single line you have dismissed this mama’s honest and appropriate feelings and implied you know her daughter better than she does.
Of course she’s in heaven with Jesus. As believers in Christ we know that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.
But knowing that, trusting that truth makes grief easier to bear, it does not erase it.
Paul wrote to the Thessalonians, “We do not grieve as those without hope.” (I Thess. 4:13)
NOT “We do not grieve.”
Here’s something you need to know: hurting with hope still hurts. The sting of death might have been removed, but it still stings. No, we might not sorrow as those who have no hope, but that doesn’t mean we won’t be sad.
Levi Lusko, Through the Eyes of a Lion
Grief is the price we pay for love.
Grief is an appropriate and proportionate response to the death (the end of earthly companionship) of someone we love.
If grief is small, what does that say about love?
It can’t be both ways.
We cannot celebrate a mother’s love and then dismiss her grief.
So my answer to that comment was this:
It’s perfectly OK to be sad. Death is awful. And missing is hard. Praying that the Lord will bring a special memory-one that has been tucked away in your hearts but mostly forgotten-to mind today and that it will bring a smile to your lips. May you feel the Lord’s Presence today and may He sing a song of love, grace and mercy over your shattered heart
God’s grief over a world of people doomed to eternal separation from Himself was to send His only Son as a sacrifice.
Why was the grief so great? Why was He willing to pay that price?
Because His love is infinitely greater.
7 thoughts on “Can’t Have it Both Ways…”
Wow!! So many people mean well…but they can’t understand how their words can be so cruel..
With most people, When I am asked how am I doing, I say fine……even though that is a place I haven’t been in 2 1/2 years– that’s what they want to hear..
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Reminds me of the co-worker that I don’t know all that well, yet she marched into my office on my first day back after burying my son, shut my door, and proceeded to “console” me. One of her remarks was “I don’t believe the wreck was God’s plan, it was just a consequence of his (my son’s) choices”. Had my jaw not been in the way on the floor I would have gotten up and shown her out immediately. Ever since then, I avoid her because I do not need anyone who doesn’t believe in the sovereignty of God trying to impart wisdom or comfort to me.
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It’s so hard to feel the sorrow and pain of grief and to have to absorb others’ comments in addition to that. I’m so sorry that was your experience. The fresher the grief, the harder it is to deal with. And your reaction is probably what protects a lot of those who “console” others that way. They are rarely told that their “consolation” is out of place because we are like deer caught in the headlights-can’t move, can’t speak and just hope they go away.
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Oh the damage we do when we “just want to help”! More often than not we confuse “helping” with “fixing.” It’s easier to fix than to empathise, you see.
I’m glad you commented. I’m sure it brought great comfort to that mother and hopefully some insight for her (unhelpful) friend!
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You would think that on this side of grief I had learned my lesson about “fixing” but I catch myself even now doing that! It’s an ongoing process, this leaning into grace and letting the love of Christ flow through me to others. I really appreciate the insight you bring to Scripture and have learned so much from your writings.
Such a grace-filled comment! A comfort, I’m sure! 🙂
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