How do we walk with the Lord on His journey? Especially in this year of so much change and uncertainty. Surrender. Endure. Grieve. Resurrect.
Day #3: Grieve
Listen. This step is the hardest one of all.
Grieving is worse than enduring. When we endure, it is happening, and we put one foot in front of the other and try to stay in our skin. When we grieve, it has already happened and we are left to count the things we have lost. This is the reckoning.
Past the initial stages, grief becomes more intangible, and we think we can push it away. And we can push it, but not away. Twenty years later, that grief will knock on the door and demand to be heard.
Men especially struggle with this because since forever, it has not been ok for men to cry or admit they are sad. Both of these looked like weakness, and God forbid a man appear weak.
Today, there’s more awareness in the world that when we are weak—when we sit inside our grief and heal from it—we are strong. But not enough. We are still learning that lesson in reaction, instead of proactively teaching it to our kids.
Which brings me to the Apostles.
We’re not wholly sure where they spent the second day. John tells us that once Mary Magdalene found the empty tomb on Sunday morning, she ran to tell Peter, and that he and “the other disciples” went to the tomb (20:3). It’s safe to assume they were together, as they had been for three years, but we don’t know for sure.
What we do know is what they were doing: nothing, because it was the Sabbath.
In the Church we say they were “waiting”, and we liken it to our waiting here on earth for what comes next.
But I think it’s no mistake that God made them sit in their grief. No escape. No excuses. Just sit in the grief and feel it.
We have to do this too. We have to. And not just for death. For the lost graduations, weddings, trips of a lifetime, jobs, homes, sports seasons, church community—everything we lost in the last year. All the traumas in our lives. We have to surrender, we have to endure and then we have to grieve what was lost. We have to reckon the cost.
I hear a lot of talk about resilience, most of it in a “suck it up”” kind of way. But true resilience is the result of walking ALL the steps. True resilience is the provenance of the fully healed.
And there is no healing without grief.