Thursday, November 4, 2010

Good Grief

I chose this title several months ago when developing a grief and loss group for a local homeless shelter men's program. Little did I know or realize that "Good Grief" is the title of a well-known book about grieving with hope. Hope. Hope is elusive, yet present. The author contends that those who grieve without hope do not truly travel the grief journey. They are stopped at some point along the way for they realize they are utterly and hopelessly alone in their journey. Those who trust God may feel alone, yet are not in reality.

As I have traveled along this path without my father, who so many times in the past guided, nurtured, and encouraged me to persevere in trusting God during grieving, I have come to some preliminary conclusions:

First, God is here. How do I know? Because He continually listens to my pleadings, my gripes, my guttural ramblings, and other groanings and still provides comfort and provision for the journey.

Second, Dad is gone - forever. Forever means he is no longer here to converse about the particulars of this life, he is beyond the reach of mortal flesh, and his voice is but a memory. Sure, we have recordings of his voice, video footage of him, and his books and literature; in these he finds immortality. He is still...gone.

Third, groping for a process to grab onto, a methodology of grieving, has exposed myriad fashions in which people have managed to make it through. Yet, the undercurrent to all of them is the mysteriousness of death. We all face the same end, albeit in different ways, but the end result is the same.

"Grieve not as those who have no hope" - 1 Thess 4:13