Pour coffee into your mug until it is half-way full. How much do you have? No I'm not asking whether you see the coffee mug as half empty or half full. Perhaps you have 8 oz. or maybe 10 oz. So if you hold the coffee cup up between a few sips your arm wouldn't get fatigued. However, if you held the cup up for 5 minutes, your arm would begin to get heavy and burdened. What if you held the cup up all day long? Your arm would begin to feel paralyzed.
What's my point in sharing this illustration with you? I was thinking about the power of Jesus' teaching in the Beatitudes; "blessed are those who mourn, they will be comforted." The painful truth of life is that we all grieve so experiencing loss and grief is not an option. Another painful truth is that none of us wants to experience grief; rather our initial reaction to grief is to avoid the emotions that come with it. I think this is because we feel weak and none of us like feeling weak.
According to those who study grief there is a difference between grieving and mourning. Grief is an inward experience while mourning is a set of outward behaviors. When we feel our grief, we are much more likely to hold those feelings in because as I mentioned above, none of us likes feeling weak. The problem arises much like in the coffee cup illustration. As we hold onto the painful emotions of grief, we become fatigued, burdened and often times paralyzed.
No wonder Jesus instructs us to mourn. He wants us to experience the blessing of comfort that can only come through mourning. When your grief arises, image the coffee cup. Take a few sips from the cup and experience the grief because when you do, the feelings will pass. Then set the cup down and allow yourself to breath and rest. Better yet, find a trusted friend and share a cup of coffee together.
Blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted!
Prayer for Today
Loving God, when we grieve bless us with your comforting Spirit and grant us the peace that passes all understanding, so that we will experience healing and wholeness as we mourn our losses. Amen.