Monday, January 14, 2013

A Tsunami Called "Grief"

I have been mesmerized by the trailer for the movie The Impossible and actually went to see the movie today.  The scenes in the trailer linked above seem to depict a perfect metaphor for this thing we call grief.  One minute the sun is shining in our paradise and we are enjoying life, the next we are in the swirl of debris and fighting to stay afloat in the muddy waters that have suddenly and without warning enveloped us.  We survived a major earthquake--a life quake-- and now we are in the middle of a tsunami of grief.

And like a tsunami, grief rolls in rather unexpected.  When it does, I have found that there are some things I do not need.
  • I do not need a swim coach giving me instructions from the safety of higher ground.
  • I do not need a cheerleader yelling pithy cheers from the sidelines of my struggle for survival.
  • I do not need a pundit evaluating my circumstances and pointing out what caused my tsunami.
  • I do not need a "Monday morning quarterback" telling me how I could have played the game of life better to avoid the tsunami.
  • I do not need a voyeur drawn to the spectacle of human suffering, gawking at my struggle.
What I need is a mattress and presence.

  • I need someone who will jump into the muck with me and just be present.
  • I need strong arms that surround me and reassure me that if I get tired of hanging on, they will hang on for me.
  • I need someone near to whisper in my ear that this will pass; that I will survive.
  • I need someone who will cry with me--who will join my heart in grief. 
  • I need someone who will tenderly clothe me with love, hope and strength.
Yes, I know that God is with me in my grief. Yes, I know that He weeps along with me and collects my tears in His bottle.  But in the throes of pain and loss He seems so far away.  I need individuals who will allow their arms to be His, their heart to weep as His does.  I need a human presence willing to be used by the Divine Presence.

The wail of grief

  • Is it risky to offer one's self to another during a tsunami of grief?  Yes.
  • Will it hurt?  Yes.
  • Will it be difficult?  Yes.
  • Will it be time-consuming? Yes.
  • Will it take us out of our comfort zone?  Yes.
  • Will we weep?  Yes.
  • Will we be changed? Yes.
  • Will it make a difference to the one grieving?  Absolutely, yes.

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