“Now as He (Jesus) drew near, He saw the city (Jerusalem) and wept over it,” – Luke 19:41
In a couple of weeks, we will be moving our youngest child out to Alabama for her first year of college. She took a gap year after graduating from Legacy High School here in Broomfield and has done a bang out job working as much as she could at Chick-fil-A since. I’m definitely a proud parent of my “not-so-baby-girl” for her solid work ethic! This weekend my wife and daughter are heading to Texas for a little girls trip before the move to see family and get her hair done by her aunt. It was rough on the heart strings, but I made it through our last Daddy Daughter Date (Triple D as we refer to it) this past Tuesday before she heads off into this next season of life. What we didn’t foresee coming was the feelings that would be associated with this move. I mean it had its challenges moving our oldest son out to Arizona and then to Atlanta three years ago, but it’s pulling a bit harder being the baby of the family. Then it finally dawned on us that we are already beginning to process the onset of GRIEF.
But isn’t grief the emotional thing you get when you lose a loved one or close friend? Here in the book of Luke it records Jesus processing grief over the actions (not death) of the citizens in Jerusalem. Elsewhere in the gospel of John it does talk about Jesus weeping over the loss of his friend, Lazarus. Apparently, as a man, he was well acquainted with the grief that you and I are exposed to for all the various reasons!
Sometimes grief comes with feelings of helplessness or loneliness. Other times it’s like there’s no comfort in sight or that our world is put on pause or literally turned upside down. Sure death brings this, but not just death. It’s more than that. We grieve when divorce steals our dreams of a happy marriage or the unexpected loss of a job. Sometimes it hits us from moving to a new city or losing a pet that’s been such a close companion for years. Shoot, I think sometimes that I’m grieving lost time with my kids that I’ll never get back. And yes, watching them grow up and leave the nest too!
This is such a big deal to the human experience that God actually had a whole book in the Bible written for us called, “Lamentations”. But, how do we lament the loss of what was and not move with anxiety into what will be? How do we have “good grief”?
I’ve heard it said, that grief is a process, and that we have to trust that process. While it is true that everyone experiences grief in unique and personal ways, there are some common emotions that we all deal with when going through it as we try to process loss. In 1975, a psychiatrist named Elisabeth Kubler-Ross published a book identifying five key stages we go through in the grief process. It typically starts with denial and then moves us through anger, blame, depression and ultimately to acceptance. It definitely hits in different intensity and sometimes different order, but this is the natural flow…IF we give ourselves to the journey. And man, it’s a hard journey to go on!
This month, I felt like someone needed to hear that what you are feeling right now is ok! You are going to be ok. I know you’re not seeing through to the other side of it all at the moment, but you will. No matter which of the stages you are currently in, don’t rush the process. Trust it. Embrace those dang emotions that you really want to push down or sweep under the proverbial rug. And know that you’re not alone. You’re human, and you are surrounded by so many others who are grieving something in their life too.
I want to leave you with two verses from the book of Psalms that I’ve held very close to my soul this year, and I pray that they are both meaningful to you as well.
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.” – Psalm 34:18
“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” – Psalm 147:3