Friday, November 6, 2015

The Benefits Within and Beyond the Journey of Grief

WRESTLING is something we become accustomed to in loss; that, or we capitulate into a swimming mess. That teary puddle on the floor. And teary puddles are also part of wrestling.
Are there benefits in the grief we experience in loss?
I think there are…
I think they’re summarised in the love of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience that the apostle Paul talks about in Colossians 3:12-14.
1.     Compassion: God puts us in touch with pain. Not just ours. Others’ pain, in our region and all over the world, comes much closer, and then into direct view. Compassion is the power of perspective in the power of God that gives us a perspective of power: the broadness of hope, joy and peace. Compassion comes with perspective. Grief teaches compassion. It nullifies coldness.
2.     Kindness: we learn not only kindness toward others, but God teaches us kindness for ourselves. And we can only really be kind to others when we’ve learned to be kind to ourselves. When we’re floored by such a thing as grief, the kindness that God teaches us to have for ourselves becomes its own benefit. When we have nothing left of ourselves we should quickly learn kindness for ourselves. Paradoxically, self-kindness is at the opposite end of the spectrum of self-pity. Self-pity is self-destructive, but self-kindness builds us up in the experience of the gentle grace of God. Grief teaches kindness. It nullifies greed.
3.     Humility: we grow in humility. We’re expunged of our selfishness and our passions are tempered. Our learned compassion teaches us to be less self-absorbed. We can be satisfied in becoming nothing without getting upset about it. Life doesn’t have to be all about us. Grief teaches humility. It nullifies pride.
4.     Gentleness: tempered. In one word. What we do to take the brittle hardness out of the hardest metal is to temper it. Tempering metal makes it so its hardness isn’t a liability, but a strength; tempered metal is tough. Gentleness is a toughness that’s pliable and softly resilient. A gentle tongue can break bones (Proverbs 25:15; cf. Isaiah 42:3-4), meaning true gentleness is incredibly influential. Gentleness is toughness for functioning through further, future griefs. Grief teaches gentleness. It nullifies fury.
5.     Patience: acceptance is something we come to in grief, praise God. Our grief isn’t always found in those tortuous positions of shock, denial and anger. Patience is a competency of maturity; it’s a blessing for the hard work of growth; a reward for persistence. Grief teaches patience. It nullifies rile.
Grief teaches compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, nullifying coldness, greed, pride, fury, rile.
Grief is not all cost. The benefits of grief endured are spiritual as they’re eternal.
Five benefits from grief: perspective of compassion; genuine kindness; true humility; raw gentleness; real patience.
© 2015 Steve Wickham.

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