It is so tempting to power through grief. To practice gratitude exercises and to count our blessings. To “look on the bright side,” to overcome disappointment, and to “get over it,” which for me is not a quick decision, but an intentional process. I don’t “just get over” anything.
I think these efforts have their place, yet they are not the solution to our sadness. God created every emotion in us. Happiness, joy, elation, celebration, fulfillment, expectations, anger, disappointment, sadness, and sorrow.
Isaiah 53 tells us that Jesus was a man of many sorrows:
He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.
I can see it now. Peter says, “Jesus! Come on. Pull yourself up by your sandals! You’ve got this!” I’ve been told this by well-meaning people on more than one occasion. It’s everything in me not to say, “Really? That’s all you have?” I think I have said a form of that a couple of times, Oops.
If you know me, you might have the impression that I am a believer of “pull yourself up… get over it…” and all that jazz. It’s true that I am decisive and intentional. But my process includes tears, it doesn’t avoid them.
This morning on my walk I listened to Catholic radio (this is what I call it, but it was actually, Ave Maria radio… or mater day, or something like that… not sure I know exactly what it is… I learned that today is the day of St. Alphonsus Liguori… I knew nothing about him. I am not Catholic.
But I came home to read up a bit (thank you Catholic radio… more enrichment) and create something that I could revisit… maybe often, or daily during some stretches.
This is what attracts me to Jesus. This love that man cannot grasp.
Yet we who love him can know it. In our suffering, or in the beauty around us, like Queen Anne’s lace, or another day to see blackberries ripen in the month of August. It is love that transcends grief and transforms lives.