Grief and Care
We can safely say that everyone who has celebrated a birthday year in this world has experienced grief firsthand. Grief is this inward confusion of absence and silence prior or after losing someone we loved — a spouse, a parent, a child, a relative, a pet, a job, one’s home, one’s hope, one’s health, etc.
The intensity of our grief can be measured by how much we’ve loved. To the extent we have loved much, the pain and loss will be that great. We have poured our lives through care and time on what we love and those whom we loved, and when we lose the beloved, the hurt, the shock, and numbness can cause our world to stop and overshadow our future.
Presence is key when preparing to care for those who are grieving. As Christians, we need the presence of Christ to abide with us as we step into the stories of individuals. We need to be aware of our own emotions as we receive people in their sorrow. We need to be humbly attentive when engaging with people’s grief. Our presence must be soaked in prayer as we listen, empathize, and engage.
Listening with humility – The present moment to receive grieving individuals as they are. This takes esteeming the interests of others above yourself (Phil. 2:3-4). There will be temptations to approach the grieved with your agendas, but God invites you to be present by listening to the various emotions not only the words beings shared. We are not called to only listen with our physical ears, but to listen with our hearts and be present with Christ’s humility.
Empathizing with patience – The ability to understand and share with one’s grief and suffering. We must be willing to bear up individuals in prayer (Col 3:12-13). A person going through grief longs to be felt by another person. That is connecting with a person with will, mind, and body. The feeling of loneliness and hopelessness can come like waves and someone who is willing to listen and empathize can be a source of strength. When we are willing to be patient in the journey this communicates loudly that hope can be restored and Christ is for them.
Engaging with perseverance – The opportunity to discerningly speak and act in people’s pain and sorrow. This takes more than one conversation but several contacts and follow up (Eph. 6:18). When one engages, again one must remember that what precedes us and what will linger afterward is our presence of love and hope. What we lead and leave with the grieved individual is ultimately Christ and His heart for them. The journey of grief may be long and exhausting, but through it, Christ holds their story.
If you are struggling with grief we are happy to help. Give us a call at 502-339-2442 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and ask about scheduling an appointment with our resident pastor, James Santos.