Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been struck again by the grief that is all around us as. Many people in our church have lost people they love. And it’s not just at CVC. Sickness and death have been amplified the last 18 months in our world. Mass shootings and violence are a far too regular occurrence. The collapsed condo complex in Miami continues to control the headlines.
It is also helpful to realize that death is not the only kind of loss with which many are struggling. Many are wrestling with what psychologist Kenneth Doka calls disenfranchised grief. Disenfranchised grief refers to loss that’s not always openly acknowledged, socially mourned or publicly supported in the same ways. This is loss that others have a harder time understanding, relating to, or sympathizing with.
This is grief that occurs when we lose a job or lose out on a promotion, when the wedding got drastically altered, the 50th birthday celebration got cancelled, the senior year of high school, or the first year of college was radically altered due to the pandemic. This is grief that is sometimes kept secret when someone has a miscarriage or struggles with infertility. This is the real sense of sadness when we lose a beloved pet but don’t want to mention it in prayer requests after someone else talks about losing a parent.
In light of all that people have and are going through, here are a few things to keep in mind. It is human to grieve. It is healing to grieve. It is hurtful when we don’t make room for ourselves or others to grieve. So…
- Don’t rush yourself or others through grief. It takes whatever time it takes.
- Don’t dismiss it. Just because it’s not something that’s important to you, doesn’t mean it’s not important and not a legitimate loss.
- Don’t diminish it. It’s not our job to tell someone things aren’t as bad as they are feeling. When in doubt, don’t say anything and just be present.
A lot of people are grieving these days and a lot more need to grieve but don’t really know it. We have an opportunity to respond with compassion. In places where God has comforted you, turn your healing into help for others.