“He heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3

Grief is like a hurricane. There are moments of disaster. They take your breath away. These moments come out of no where, crushing and battering you. Then there are moments of calm and peace, but these moments are short lived. Without warning, you’re plunged back into the stormy reality inside of you.

Grief is like a void. It’s an emptiness that lingers. Ever present, it’s infinite depth seems unfathomable. You can’t imagine the other side as all warmth and light seems swallowed in it. You can scream, you can cry, you can beg and plead, but it all gets lost in the immense shadows forming inside you. 

Grief is like a dead weight. You can’t get comfortable. You can’t shift it away. It persists. Its awkwardness tarnishes a little bit of everything. Your energy just isn’t the same. You grow fatigued for no explainable reason. Nothing else really matters but dealing with this mass inside of you. 

Grief is like a roller coaster. There are moments of hopeful suspense, followed by nauseating reality. The joy and the discomfort so intertwined they dilute each other in the process. You can’t even breath from the whiplash inside of you.

The hard part of grief is that you can’t control it. The timing sucks. You don’t get to pick when pain strikes or when calm arrives. All of the feelings suck. And you can’t describe to people the hurricanes or voids or weights or roller coasters going on inside of you.

But grief is a reality. Running from it is foolish and futile. English poet John Keats once said, ”The point of diving into a lake is not immediately to swim to the shore, but to be in the lake, to luxuriate in the sensation of water. You do not work the lake out, it is an experience beyond thought.” The same is true of any experience in life. The point is not to swim away from the pain we may experience, but to soak in it. Because it’s what heals the heart. It’s what makes us human. It’s the only way to really feel whole again.

Of course, the fear in the middle of grief is that we are alone. That when the tears have fallen and the condolences have been wished, that all that is left is the storm or the void or the weight or the roller coaster. The fear that this grief is the only new reality, and no one will be there to hold or heal our pain.

But as with most fears, that’s not true either. 

I’m a big fan of musicals. I think they convey a joy that other forms of story telling misses. One that I’ve found comfort in this year is “Dear Evan Hansen.” The big Act I finale is called “You Will Be Found.” In the song, the title character addresses an assembly of students grieving the loss of their classmate, Connor. In the chorus they remind each other, “Cause when you don’t feel strong enough to stand/You can reach, reach out your hand/And oh, someone will coming running/And I know, they’ll take you home./Even when the dark comes crashing through/When you need a friend to carry you/And when you’re broken on the ground/You will be found/So let the sun come streaming in/Cause you’ll reach up and you’ll rise again/Lift your head and look around/You will be found.”

In Corinthians, Paul also reminds us that we are not alone in our pain and grief. He writes in 1 Corinthians 12:26, “And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.” 

I’ve learned a lot in the past few weeks. While I’m still in the middle of my grief—and it does feel unending and uncontrollable— I’ve learned  the only way through it is to dive in and soak it up; I’ve learned to reach out and call out for help when it’s needed; and I’ve learned to keep believing that we are not alone.

If you are interested, here is a link to the song “You Will Be Found.”

Zach Herzog

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