The thing about grief . . . Part 3
Recently I was listening to a charismatic pastor on television. He relayed he was sure that he was going to heaven. But if for some reason, he wasn’t; it wasn’t the fire and brimstone or pain and suffering that scared him. I thought what could be worse than that. Growing up Southern Baptist, I have heard more than a few sermons on that topic. Thinking for sure he was going to say the absence of God’s love, I almost tuned him out because that made sense to me. I am so glad I didn’t because what he said next totally cracked me up. He said that what he was most worried about was spending eternity with idiots. He was talking about the people who say things like, “I’m going to do such and such now, and when I am older I am going to get right with God.” He wasn’t stereotyping, profiling, or judging. He was trying to point out that today might be your last chance to get to know God.
In general, I would agree with him. But as a grieving person, I have encountered my fair share of idiots. As a disclaimer, grieving people aren’t the most logical or reasonable people. Additionally, because death is so mysterious, there are some people who say things that aren’t helpful, but their intent was never to hurt. They just didn’t know what else to say. But then there are the people that for whatever reason say things that make me want to say, “You do know you said that out loud.”
My personal all-time favorite was the woman at a school function who looked me in the eye and said, “Aren’t you over that yet?” In my humanness, I wanted to knock her on her butt and sock her in the nose. Since I haven’t ever really done that, I simply walked away and cried. After a long while of steaming and stewing, I chose to forgive her. But now, I just feel sorry for her. There are two things that make me feel that way. First, she didn’t like attention being drawn to my family and the others who had lost children. (We didn’t ask for that attention, nor did we really want it.) Second, it makes me sad because if she truly thinks that you are over the death of child in a year and half, I would hate to be her child.
Back in my rocking and grieving stage of mourning in my recent emotional coma, that was one of the things from which I wanted to share and to protect those sweet Connecticut parents. The unintentional hurtful comments are unavoidable. I know because I have said those same things. But, the intentional acts or comments elicit emotions worse than grief. It is like being kicked when you are down. So when I saw the people protesting the innocent children’s funerals, I knew that I was already too late. My heart ached even more, and I couldn’t eat for two days. As long as I live I will never understand protesting funerals of soldiers or children.
Here is what I DO KNOW and UNDERSTAND: God is LOVE. Period. He did not orchestrate the Newtown tragedy or the one where my son and three friends were killed. But I also know that He gave us a free will to exercise as we wish. If He pushed the pause button, then it isn’t really free will. It would be more like having the extra brake like in a driver’s education car. He can’t run around like Superman stopping us all from the calamitous choices we make. I wish He could but then what would be the point of His extravagant grace.
It doesn’t make it easier, but even in the midst of dealing with inflicted hurts I have chosen to cling to the shortest Bible verse.
John 11:35 – Jesus wept. (NIV)
Somehow it is comforting, knowing that Jesus understands what it is like to hurt. He cried when he was grieving. Even though it is hard to swallow, I know that Jesus cries for the idiots too, including the idiot known as me.
For the record: you close on houses and business deals, but you NEVER close on your children!