new life fellowship

serving jesus christ the king

Grief: the pain that won’t go away

In 1992 REM released “Everybody Hurts”. Its poignant lyrics and plaintive melody struck a chord with many. The opening verse goes:

“When the day is long and the night, the night is yours alone, When you’re sure you’ve had enough of this life, well hang on Don’t let yourself go, ‘cause everybody cries and everybody hurts sometimes”

This life is full of hurt.

A family lose their son in a tragic suicide; a wife loses her husband after 40 years of marriage; a young husband loses his wife and child in an accident; a son loses the father whom he always worked alongside, would-be parents lose the baby they had been looking forward to, and for a few days we offer our sympathy, and then a few months later we expect them to be over it. But grief doesn’t work like that. And the pain remains long after the wake.

In Ireland we are very good at putting up masks, and hiding behind them, pretending everything is fine. But underneath lies a soul that is still raw. In Ireland we are not very good at dealing with grief. Men especially seem to think that grief is for women, the weak and the wains. Yet grief is an integral part of being human and living in a broken world. It is how God designed us. Jesus himself wept at the grave of his friend Lazarus.

As a pastor I find myself dealing with people at various stages in the grieving process. And it is a process. It doesn’t go quickly, despite the well-meaning platitudes of friends – “Time heals all wounds,” “Keep yourself busy,” or “You have to move on/get over it,” or the surprised, “I thought you’d be over it by now” when they find you in tears a year later.

And there are many ways grief hits us – it doesn’t just have to be through bereavement. The loss of a relationship, whether through divorce or separation, the loss of job, or health, or expectations for ourselves or our family can leave us feeling elements of grief. If we don’t recognise these we will store up resentment and hurt for ourselves which will come to the surface at some stage.

How should we react? How can we best help others? What positive steps should we take to turn our grief from being a downhill spiral that closes in on us and leaves us bitter, angry or lifeless, to an upward and outward spiral that realistically faces our loss, but yet also sets us free?

God has designed the grieving process to be part of the healing process, but we often need help to grieve and to help others grieve. To this end New Life Fellowship has invited Brenda Kelso, a specialist in Grief Counselling to come and speak on the topic this Tuesday evening (16
th Oct) at 8pm in the Day Centre off Oliver Plunkett Road.

Everyone is welcome.

Mark Loughridge –