Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The boardroom.

A long table. Coffee and tea. White-washed walls. And lots of grey hair...

This morning I braved my first GriefShare small group session in our local church board room. I was terribly nervous. I had assumptions about what I might find, but really had no idea. Other than a few one on one counselling sessions or coffee sessions with another widow, I had never entered into a "fellowship" of grief. And the prospect of it had my knees wobbling...

The facilitator opened with her own story. Widowed twice. She has lived through the death of two husbands. As each member took their turn, I marvelled again at the wide range of circumstances that had led each one to this place. The losses of parents, siblings, children, and spouses. Each circumstance unique. Every loss, validated. And still, I marvelled again at the similarity of our grief experiences... Ultimately, we love. We lost. Now, we grieve.

I was rather unfortunately placed around the table, falling last in the line of story introductions. I had a long time to wonder, what will I say? What should I share? Can I find any common ground in this room of men and women, most of them twice my age? I felt I should start with, My husband died one year, one month, and eleven days ago. Like in an AA meeting where you begin with, I am an alcoholic... How does my story fit in to the overwhelming despair seen around this table of fellow-grievers?

Again, I marvelled at the mystery of God. For God is near to those who are broken-hearted. Our fellowship of mourning was truly blessed because of Jesus. For, God dwells with the lowly and poor in spirit... Not all at the table were strong men and women of faith. Still, each one had a sense of something nearer to them. Each one recognized that in devastating grief, when life is no longer worth living, food and hobbies and activities have lost all pleasure, and darkness and pain are the only things constant... In that place, we look for something... Everything else is counted loss. What is worth living for? Where is there any comfort? In this place, there are two choices. Death and life. I have set before you life. Choose life. 

"Grief is hard work." I have heard this said from many a widow. I have experienced it and live in it on a minute by minute basis. But there, in that board room, in the fellowship of our sufferings, I saw it most clearly expressed. Such devastation happens through loss. Such despair. Such pain that seems unending and unable to be endured...

I sometimes trick myself into thinking that the pain will go away as I continue to be blessed in the Lord.   That when I am in His Presence, He will make everything right. When I am revelling on the mountaintop of praise, I will remain there forevermore, never to tread the depths again. No more low valleys and shadows of death... But I am always mistaken. The highs and the lows remain. Both. Each. And.

I am humbled once again, and somewhat enraged to recall that patience, endurance, and brokenness are highly esteemed positions of glory in the kingdom of God. That He looks for the lowly and contrite of spirit, and for those who tremble at His word. That BLESSED are the poor in the spirit. BLESSED are those who mourn...

I am best positioned for the glory of God when I am in the sorrowful lows of my grief. I prefer the mountaintops, and though many would suggest that there is where the Christian life of blessing is lived, I may beg to differ. Scripture would describe to me a more upside down version of blessing, that is in fact, right side up, where we are brought low to be lifted up. Where we are broken. Where we grieve. And where Jesus is near, in the fellowship of His sufferings, bringing comfort and perfect peace.

1 comment:

  1. You are a blessing to me. this blog is a blessing... I grieve from a very different position, and everyday something reminds me of the loss, and I am bless to a have friend who shares so honestly that there is blessing in eery post.

    God is using you in a way that I Can't explain.. be blessed!