Sitting with the Grieving

Words are hard to form in the face of grief. Well-meaning people say things that are less than helpful to those having a difficult time.

We have a tendency to want to fix other people’s problems, including their grief. We say things like “well, at least…” “everything happens for a reason” and “just be thankful that…”

These phrases don’t solve anyone’s problems and don’t comfort them either. When I’m sad, someone telling me “this happened for a purpose” doesn’t make my sadness disappear. “At least x didn’t happen” doesn’t suddenly make me feel better about what did happen.

We need to learn to sit with the grieving. To give them space to be silent, to be sad, and to just be present with them.

There is a children’s book that displays this so well. The Rabbit Listened is about a child who builds a tower of blocks which gets knocked down. All these different animals come by and try to make him feel better. They tell him to laugh, rage, forget, build a new tower, and more. Finally, the rabbit comes along and doesn’t say anything. The rabbit just sits beside Taylor in his grief. Eventually, Taylor talks to the rabbit and works through all of his emotions, resolving to begin again.

In our grief, we don’t need bunches of people telling us how to feel, how to cope. We need people to lean on.

We see this in the Bible as well. Job is grieved and his friends come by to lecture him on how he should be grieving, how he has wronged God and needs to repent, and so on. Job retorts every statement, defending his own righteousness.

Job didn’t need a lecture on his character, he needed friends that sat with him and encouraged him.

Romans 12:15 says “Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep.”

What we need when we grieve is someone to sit with us, to just be and let us be.

How can you be this person for someone who is grieving in your life?

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” Matthew 5:4



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