Cry Grief Away

SDA JournalDevotional


Scripture: (Job 7:11 NKJV)  “Therefore I will not restrain my mouth; I will speak in the anguish of my spirit; I will complain in the bitterness of my soul.

Observation: Job’s friends came to visit him and or seven days said nothing but simply sat there with him – that’s what we call the ministry of presence.  But Job’s pain was so heavy that he grieved out loud.  His friends, one at a time, began to try to console him while at the same time trying to convince him of his own wrongdoing which resulted in his own problems.  Job then responds with his own defense and talks more about his own pain.

Application: Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, who wrote the classic book “On Death and Dying,” followed it up with another classic, “On Grief and Grieving,” in which she speaks of, among other things, “The Inner World Of Grief.”  Among other things she writes:
  Everyone experiences many loses throughout life, but the death of a loved one is unmatched for its emptiness and profound sadness.  Your world stops. You know the exact time your loved one died – or the exact moment you were told.  It is marked in your mind.  Your world takes on a slowness, a surrealness.  It seems strange that the clocks in the world continue when your inner clock does not. (29)
  No one can give you words to make you feel better; there are none. (29)
  Your loss and the grief that accompanies it are very personal, different from anyone else’s.  Others may share the experience of their losses.  They may try to console you in the only way they know.  But your loss stands in its meaning to you, in its painful uniqueness. (29)
  We all play roles in our lives: spouse, parent, child, family member, friend.  You know your loved one in a way that no one else ever did or ever will.  One person’s dying touches many people in many different ways; everyone feels that loss of individually.  Your task in your own mourning and grieving is to fully recognize your own loss, to see it as only you can.  In paying the respect and taking the time it deserves, you bring integrity to the deep loss that is yours. (30-31)

She lists some of the experiences that form part of the task of grieving.  I’d like to mention and quote her in one of them: TEARS
  Tears are one of the many ways we release our sadness, one of our many wondrous built-in healing mechanisms.  Unfortunately, too often we try to stop this necessary and primal release of our emotions.(42)
  People. . . avoid crying for fear that they might cry forever.  But of course you will stop crying, even if you don’t believe you will.  The worst thing you can do is to stop short of really letting it out.  Uncried tears have a way of filling the well of sadness even more deeply.  If you have a half hour of crying to do, don’t stop at twenty minutes.  Let yourself cry it all out.  It will stop on its own.  If you cry till your last tear, you will feel released. (43)
  We live in a society that view tears as a weakness and a face of stone as strength.  Whether you cry or not may have more to do with how you were raised than with the nature of your loss.  Some of us were raised with permission to cry and others were not.  For some, crying privately may be okay and crying publicly is unacceptable.  Whatever you were taught, the loss of a loved one can tip the scales and bring up the tears you never thought you could cry. (44)
  At times, you may start to cry as if for no reason at all.  It may seem it just comes out of the blue, because you are not even consciously thinking about your loss.  Unexpected tears remind you that the loss is always there.  People often find they are reminded unexpectedly of a loved one and start crying in a situation they were not prepared to handle. (45)
  Marion knew the importance of taking the pain inside and releasing it outside.  Then she was done when her sadness was fully expressed.  Unexpressed tears do not go away; their sadness resides in our bodies and souls.  Tears can often be seen as dramatic, too emotional, or a sign of weakness.  But in truth, they are an outward expression of inner pain. (45)
  Others have their own reactions to seeing someone crying.  For those around the person crying, people may feel grateful the person is able to cry.  Or they may feel uncomfortable, thinking, “If they cry, I might.”  Or “If Cindy, who never cries at anything, is crying, things must be really bad.” (45)
  Our perception about crying is public is cultural.  In some places, not crying is a sign of dignity, whereas in other cultures, not crying for the deceased is considered a sign of dishonor. (46)
  Tears are a symbol of life, a part of who we are and what we feel.  They live in us and through us.  They represent us and reside in our pain.  This symbol and representation of sadness can appear anytime.  Since it is so tied to life itself, we are often surprised when laughter breaks spontaneously through tears. (46)
  The humanity we witness often causes us to laugh at ourselves, but never mistake laughing through tears as a reason to feel guilty.  It is the life we have, mixed with the sadness we feel.  It is a fail-safe mechanism we have for managing the pain. (46)
  “Everyone has to grab their own tissues.” – when someone hands them a box of tissues – while this may be an act of comfort, it often sends the message “hurry and stop crying.”  Also, if we go into the role of caretaker, we avoid our own emotions. (46)
  The truth is that tears are a symbol of life and can be trusted. (46)
  Acceptance of death is part of the work that must be done if we are to grieve fully.  If crying is part of our outer culture or inner sadness and we have tears to cry, then we should use this wonderful gift of healing without hesitation. (47)
  Long periods of denial are worse than crying.  Crying is much better, but you have to cry your own tears because no one can do it for you.  If you see someone else crying and you cry, it is triggering some sadness you feel inside.  Sometimes you’d rather cry for any situation but your own, but regardless of your preferences, you are always crying for yourself. (47)

Tears are a way to process through our grief and a healing balm to our hurting soul.  In our culture, people try to refrain from crying or medicate themselves to prevent them from crying.  This will cause them more pain later and more emotional difficulties.

A Prayer You May Say: Father, thank you for the gift of tears which help us to process our own grief.  Please bring the healing our souls need when the pain that death brings comes to our life.

Used by permission of Adventist Family Ministries, North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists.



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