Loss and Grief

Some of you might have noticed that I haven’t published anything for a couple of months. I’ve sat down to write a few times but could think of nothing to say. I think I am grieving. It’s an unfamiliar emotion. I don’t know how to analyze it.

In our culture, we learn very quickly to not grieve, especially if you are male. Grieving itself is viewed as a weakness. I think this is changing. But I’m not sure.

I know that in my own upbringing, weeping was a sign of weakness. Big boys don’t cry.

So I’m trying on this new feeling for me. Grief. Sometimes loss is just a bit overwhelming. Sometimes I wish I could just experience what they call the “ugly cry” but I don’t think I’m able to. Too unseemly. I have too much of my father in me I guess. But I still grieve.

I am grieving for lost youth. I wasn’t ready for middle age. I wasn’t ready for old people problems. I wasn’t ready for cancer. I haven’t finished being young yet. I wish that I hadn’t squandered my youth with childishness. But now that is gone.

My fingers cramp now when I type. My knees hurt when I walk. The arthritis gets my joints when it rains. I haven’t learned the third movement of the Waldstein sonata yet. There was always a part of me that knew it would always be a little beyond my reach, but now I say goodbye to the dream. It’s a strange feeling. Some days I don’t know who I am.

I am grieving things that I cannot speak of, for they are not my stories to tell. I am grieving the missed opportunities, the lambs that have wandered, the words unspoken, the good deeds left undone.

It’s hard to explain. I don’t know if this is what grief feels like. I know what being sad is, but it isn’t really exactly like that.

It a sigh, it’s a reset of the brain. The remembrance of things past.

I think it is like this: There have been moments in life when a grand buffet table was within your grasp. You tasted it for a moment, but it was taken away before you were finished with it.

Maybe this is how the grass feels. Just when it starts to bloom, the mower cuts it down. Always growing, always becoming, always cut short.

But then I remember that God remembers that we are grass.

13 As a father pities his children, So the LORD pities those who fear Him.

14 For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust.

15 As for man, his days are like grass; As a flower of the field, so he flourishes.

16 For the wind passes over it, and it is gone, And its place remembers it no more.

17 But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting (Psa 103:13-17 NKJ)

I am fading.

It wasn’t meant to be like this. I was made to live forever. But now, I fade and die.

To grieve that loss is to be human, I think. But to be a child of God is to try to remember that God knows that.

I am tired of saying goodbye. I am tired of saying goodbye to youth, goodbye to dreams, goodbye to friends, goodbye to family.

I’m tired of it. But God remembers that we are dust. And I try to remember that I will never, ever have to say goodbye to God’s mercy.

God’s mercy is from everlasting to everlasting. You don’t have to say goodbye to the one who doesn’t change.

“O thou who changest not, abide with me.”

Some days I forget to remember that God’s mercy is from everlasting. But God doesn’t ever forget.

Some days, I am in the valley of the shadow of death, and I forget to remember that God is with me. But he doesn’t forget.

He doesn’t leave me behind and forget that he has a child. He doesn’t forget his little lamb.

I think that is astounding.

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24 Comments

Filed under Grief, mercy, Uncategorized

24 responses to “Loss and Grief

  1. TJ

    I understand. I think losses of all kinds need to be grieved. May you find comfort and healing as you grieve.

  2. Thomas Owsley

    This certainly resonated with me. Thank you!

  3. What a beautiful piece of writing, Sam. Grief can be really painful, it can make your whole body feel as if it is wracked by pain. A widow who had recently lost her husband once told me, “it’s the strangest thing, grief is actually a physical thing that goes right through your whole body.”

    Long ago, I did not understand why those women stayed at the foot of the cross grieving, why they deemed it necessary to bear witness to inevitable suffering they had no control over. I could not see the value in their tears, what appeared to be the futility and self torment of their grief that served no obvious purpose. I get it now however, I see how God collects our tears in a bottle as if they were precious, how the simple job of bearing witness to the suffering of others is place of high honor. We grieve what we value and our grief is actually a form of gratitude, an expression of thankfulness for what we have been given….and now lost.

    I was numb for a long time. When you cannot grieve, you cannot love either. It is a far worse place to be because, “Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.”

    Just remember, on the third day He rose, and at the end of it all we can joyfully proclaim, “He is risen indeed.” Joy actually comes in the “mourning.”

    • The resurrection is our hope and joy, the heart of the faith. Without it, there is no point. But Christ is risen from the dead, and this my body will also be raised to new and eternal life! Thank you for your kind words.

  4. Yes, you are grieving. For some reason it’s not a stretch for me to ‘weep with you’. Thank you so much for taking the pain of speaking right into my story. Walking alongside. Love and prayers…

  5. Gany T.

    Praying for you, brother.

    Real, honest, vulnerable, and…pointing to the eternal truths of Scripture (as always). Thank you for sharing your soul with us.

    Yes, the wearisomeness of saying goodbyes and the remorse of unalterable pasts…but if I may also say so, God has used you much in the present and is already reaching into the future. Your writing and commenting online has been one of His tools to lift me in some major ways, which…I’ve shared with a few others, including my young adult kids. They sustained damage from ‘churchianity’ and other things growing up, and rejected the ‘f’aith, but have definitely observed (good) changes in their mom. I believe it is leading up to eternal fruit in their coming to faith, and so your influence, too, is moving forward.

    May God bless, comfort, strengthen.

    • Thank you for the encouragement. I am glad my writings have helped to bring some peace.
      When we discard the idols, and truly learn to rest in the cross of Christ, there is a great deal to be found.
      Jesus gives life to the dead, so there is hope, even for our grown children!

  6. Joy

    Expressed very well. It’s a real shocker to face these things.

  7. Great article Sam. May you always pray and heal through the process. Grief is a hard process to accept and work through. I felt a great deal of my self in the article. Hard to say goodbye and accept what is gone. Hang in there and walk with God as he will never leave us hugs and love my friend T

  8. Bunkababy

    Do you have cancer? I’m sorry if you do.
    I used to think cultures that wailed were really weird. As time has passed and I have matured I realise how vital that wailing is to our well being.
    It gets the grief out in a tangible way. It gives voice to grief.
    I have grieved by a simple few tears or a wailing that comes from so far in my being It felt like I was going to barf out my stomach.
    Our culture rejoices when others rejoice but we don’t necessarily mourn when other mourn. We send cards because someone else wrote words we can’t think of.

    Anyhow, whatever is going on, God be with you.

  9. lisaadams211

    Sigh. Ecclesiastes 1:18 … For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.
    Thank you for your words.

  10. The Lord gave you the strength to post “Loss and Grief”. You’ve described what many of us have desired to express.
    I have found myself at a loss for words when trying to relate to those who have betrayed me. I grieve the loss of family, friendships, love.
    Thank you for sharing and you can be assured that many are praying for you and your loved ones.

  11. Anonymous

    This is such a good post. I really hope you don’t have cancer. So much of what you expressed in this post is very familiar to me. God bless you, Pastor Powell! Grief is so difficult, yet so plentiful in this life.

    Wishing you health, comfort, healing, restoration, and more comfort. God is always with us, even though it is hard to remember that sometimes.

    I really enjoy your sermons, your posts on this blog and others, and want to say thanks for expressing such, sharing such, and speaking as you do. God Bless!

  12. Thank you Sam. You are a blessing to me.

  13. Audrey Burk

    You have described my current mental condition exactly. Where did time go? How did I get grey in my hair, lines on my face? So many things I did wrong, never to be able to go back and do them over. The grief is all-consuming and crushing at times. But God has brought me this far; I must be at the stage of life He wants me to be in. He has forgiven me and now I can love much because I have been forgiven much. Your words are a comfort to me, too. So glad I’m not alone in this. Thank you.

  14. authorrobraytaylor

    Give thanks that grief only applies to this earthly life. There will be a time when all tears will be wiped away. RobT

  15. Thank you so much for this, Sam. It makes me catch my breath with a lump in my throat. We open our eyes, we look here and there, we do one or two things that we hope are meaningful, and we are gone. But God knows, and He is ultimately the one doing the work. God bless you as you ponder and grieve and seek recovery.

    • Thank you, Rebecca. You’re born. You do some stuff. You die. But the mercies of the Lord are forever. It puts things into perspective. If we can reflect a little bit of the love and light and goodness of God on the way, through the grace of Christ and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, then it is a life well-lived.

  16. Pingback: Loss and Grief - The Aquila Report

  17. Truthful and meaningful words, I agree it’s easier to not grieve, to put memories and feelings into a box and push it to the back of our minds and move on! I have recently written a post about my own experiences with grief and a few words of advice, I hope anyone reading would have a look and share their own take on my experience! Thank you x

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