Tag Archives: grief

A time to lament? Try this tool

If you are like me, you experience life now as an ongoing season of upheaval and distress. Between the pandemic’s staggering death count and losses and the racial wounds and ideological rifts we face each day, who doesn’t feel the crushing weight of pain? Yes, the outcome of the George Floyd trial and the success in vaccinating millions of Americans is a move in the right direction–and yet, even successes can trigger more grief. Just ask anyone who lost a loved one. When a new positive event takes place, it can sometimes trigger a shockingly deep wave of grief and loss. There is a lot of evidence that the way of grief and loss is just now really breaking on us like a tidal wave.

Have you ever wanted to an audience with God to tell him of your unspeakable pain? You are not alone. Job did. The Psalmists did. Jesus, the son of God, even did. We have their complaints and laments recorded for us to read and emulate. And since they are recorded in Scripture, we can accept that God invites us to make these cries known to him and to our neighbors.

If you want some help in writing a lament to express your pain to God and to your friends, consider using this new tool just created by the Trauma Healing Institute at American Bible Society. I want to point out a simple and free download where you can do this. Hear how the creators describe the need to lament:

In moments when human dignity is being diminished and violated…When safety and justice feel forgotten or impossible to find…When we feel like we cannot take another step…

Our pain is not a burden to God. God is present.

In times such as these, we here at the Trauma Healing Institute have just launched the new, free, easy-to-use Trauma Healing Basics resource: How to Lament.

This resource is a blueprint for honest prayer in times of great turmoil. God is waiting for us to pour out our hearts. Crying out to God with honesty in times like these is a form of worship; instead of turning away, we open ourselves to God. This little tool explains how to do it.

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Observing and Remembering Grief

On September 11, 2001, and for some time thereafter, Americans observed and experienced the grief of individuals and a nation. Now, ten years later, we observe and remember it anew–whether our own or the grief of strangers.

If you caught any of the television coverage you probably saw family members reading the names of the dead or tracing the names of loved ones carved into the memorials at ground zero. These images are both beautiful and heartrending, especially those of the children who are growing up without a parent. Or, you may have watched some of the surviving firefighters and police officers tell of their struggle to breathe or to fight the cancer that is likely the result of breathing in the toxic dust as they dug in the pit without proper protection.

As the names and ages scrolled across my television screen, I noted how many were so young, hardly even into the prime of their lives. Though I lost no one in my family or circles, I feel some small portion of the grief families continue to feel and am glad they have a beautiful place to go to remember their dead. Remembering the dead with ceremonies, markers, and moments of silence is an important part of living and grieving well. It is an active means to recall who we are (whether individual or nation), what we are, and where we are headed. As a people, we tend to do funerals pretty well. We recall someone who has died and how they influenced our lives. And, we endeavor to keep a part of their legacy alive in how we live our own lives.

I think these kinds of memorials have the opportunity to do the same thing.

But, and this takes nothing away from our collective grief, I am also aware that so many around the world die in obscurity without even the dignity of a thoughtful burial, with no one remembering their life or death. This is especially true in war-torn, impoverished areas. One militia erases the village of an opposing faction. Most are killed, a few survive by escaping into the bush or forest. The dead range from infants to elderly. They are left to be raided for any remaining goods, picked over by wild dogs, and whatever bones are found are later bulldozed into a mass grave.

In the West we may hear of these deaths and shake our heads at the senselessness of human atrocity. But distance and disconnect with other parts of the world rarely cause us to rise up as a nation and observe (stop if possible) and remember the grief of others.

One such arena of senseless and invisible slaughter happened in DRC. Bryan Mealer gives you an inside look at suffering and death and the desperate attempts of many Congolese to stay alive during the great African war. What I noticed was how little time there was to remember and grieve. Remembering is done by those who do not fear for their safety.

So, as we remember our own grief, let us also recall and remember those victims who get no grave nor remembrance.


Filed under suffering, trauma, Uncategorized

Cherishing suffering?

Reading in the CS Lewis daily reader about the common feeling of shame that a bereaved person has for feeling better on a given day. My friend described that feeling as one of feeling disloyal to his deceased wife. Lewis describes this well.

We don’t really want grief, in its first agonies, to be prolonged: nobody could. But we want something else of which grief is a frequent symptom, and then we confuse the symptom with the thing itself. I wrote the other night that bereavement is not the truncation of married love but one of its regular phases–like the honeymoon. What we want is to live our marriage well and faithfully through that phase too. If it hurts (and it certainly will) we accept the pains as a necessary part of this phase. We don’t want to escape them at the price of desertion or divorce. Killing the dead a second time. We were one flesh. Now that it has been cut in two, we don’t want to pretend that it is whole and complete. We will be still married, still in love. Therefore we shall still ache.

From A Grief Observed

Good description of the pain of losing a mate based on my friends experience.


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