Grief comes in so many different nuances — each ordered for the uniqueness of the day, and experience is hardly something gathered confidently. Indeed, we may well lose every semblance of confidence because of the very unpredictability of the chasm we’re lost into.
We will only grow through our grief as a product of reflecting, later, when all of the pain’s dealt with. Sure, growth occurs through the process of grief, but we can’t possibly see the fruit until we have passed all the way through hell.
Yet, one day we are rendered distraught, and despatched to the abyss. The next day might have a tinge of hope with it. The next betwixt and between with anger and anxiety. The next doing anything to make of the future what we can. And then there are the days when we are just simply too depressed to get out of bed.
Charting each one of those knives of pain is important as each one pierces the skin, bringing a fresh wound to bear on the soul seeking rest and resolution. Another knife is the restitution we wish for in another’s life. Another again relates to the betrayal that severs our sanity.
How many different nuances of this agony must be endured?
The answer is possibly infinite, at most, and the number we’ve actually experienced, at least.
The experience of the former day, the new information we have on board, the possibility of a mounting despair, or an impatience for God’s justice; all this, and more, makes for the extrapolation of the grief experience at play.
It is so common to scream to God, “How long, O Lord?” (Psalm 13)
How long, and in how many different ways, will this anguish continue to strike at the flesh of our souls? This is such a reasonable question, for grief always lasts longer than we wish it to. We always feel we should be over it ‘by now’.
But the point is, we are not.
God must still have for us to learn some things. No matter how angry it makes us feel our anger won’t coerce God’s engineering of our circumstances.
We are forgiven for wanting life back to normal — whatever that now is. But there is more to learn, and that’s way the grief experience is so unpredictably messy and lengthy.
God does a work in and through us when we continue journeying by faith in our grief. It’s the response of humility God’s after; for that we receive his compassion.
God’s best works in the human soul are his severing of our dependence on ourselves and others. Through grief, perhaps for the first time, we are depending on our Lord.
© 2015 S. J. Wickham.