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Good Grief

Recently, quite by accident, I discovered a scrap of paper with words of encouragement penned by Brazilian lyricist and novelist Paulo Coehlo. It reads, “If you are brave enough to say goodbye, life will reward you with a new hello.”

But saying goodbye is difficult to do, isn’t it? During times of grief, loss, and unexpected change, many of us may cling to a nostalgia for the “good old days.” Grief can also foster a resistance to getting back to our usual activities. When it appears that people have forgotten what was lost, it is only natural for some to want to keep the memory of what was alive. “We must not allow things to get back to normal again,” we may tell ourselves. So, we may withdraw or take a break. We need space in our busy lives to make sense of all that has happened. After all, grieving is painful, but not as painful as having to make new decisions regarding what life in community will look like moving forward into the future.

Amid this uncertainty, some will resist, finding comfort in the familiar. Others, having made their peace and worked through their own grief, will want to move forward trusting that the same God who calls and equips the baptized for the work of ministry journeys with us during periods of change, transition, and uncertainty.

That is why it is important for us, the mission partners of Salem Lutheran Church, to be “the community of the concerned” as we give voice to our grief and show Christ-like love and concern for one another, especially for those who are still struggling and hurting. Working through our grief is never easy. We come out of the grief process as different people.

Granger Westberg, in his book Good Grief, writes, “Depending upon the way we respond to this event, we are either stronger people than we were before or weaker, either healthier in spirit or sicker.”

Amid it all, we trust. We trust, sometimes by the thinnest of threads, in the promise that “I am with you always” (Matthew 28:20). And clinging to the promises that God-in-Christ makes to us, may we somehow find the strength to move forward into the future while also creating space in our lives together for healing, reconciliation, and reunion.

In Christ’s Peace,
Pastor Jon

Tags: Weekly Word