Lent – Day 29


Today’s Thought: Grief.

In his anguish [Jesus] prayed more earnestly, and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down on the ground. When he got up from prayer, he came to the disciples and found them sleeping because of grief. (Luke 22:44-45)

This scripture from Luke takes an honest look at suffering. The suffering Jesus felt—in all his humanness—at the thought of what he would go through on the cross. The anguish the disciples felt after hearing Jesus speak repeatedly of his impending death. Jesus was their Messiah, their King, and his death wasn’t part of the future kingdom they’d hoped for. Jesus found them sleeping because of grief. If you’ve ever cried yourself to sleep, you know the depth of the disciples’ sorrow.

Everyone grieves, but no one wants to talk about it. And because we try to ignore it, we never know how to handle it when grief hits us or someone else. I’ve had my own opportunities to sit with grief and the well-intentioned (but often poorly-worded) sentiments of those who don’t know what to say or do, but who want to make everything better. The thing is, grief doesn’t work that way.

Many years ago, a good friend of mine drove me home from the hospital following a 15-hour day spent waiting for my youngest child to come out of a difficult surgery. I vividly remember the two of us sitting on my living room floor eating pizza from a box, my friend reminding me to take a bite in between bouts of crying and spewing out everything I was afraid of and angry about because of overpowering, breathtaking grief. I don’t remember her asking a lot of questions or giving me any earth-shattering insight or advice. I do remember her giving me food and making sure I slept. I remember her presence.

What can you do to help the grieving? Stay close while they swim in those deep, murky waters, and don’t worry about saying wise things–they can’t really hear you under there anyway. Then, when they’re ready to crawl out on dry land again, be there with a towel (and maybe a pizza). Just be there.

Monday Meditation: The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen. – Elisabeth Kübler-Ross