Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
– Jesus, Matthew 5:4
When Shawna and I went through the deep anguish of losing our unborn son I had to face my aversion to grief. It’s not fun to mourn. It’s agonizing. So, it makes since that we have so many ways of averting ourselves from experiencing it: over working, TV, food, medication, music, drinking, smoking, shopping, et cetera.
To mourn is to be present. All those methods of aversion take us out of the experience we are in, which robs us of depth. The loss of our son was and is worth being present to; as is the loss of a friend, a family member, a hope you once held, or a friendship. To avoid it would ignore the rich meaning that surrounds us in life.
After spending days and weeks in mourning, the most amazing thing happened: mourning became a comfort to me. I was so self-centered in the beginning, asking questions like, why is this happening to me? And, what have I done to deserve this? When I finally allowed myself to simply and wholly mourn, to my surprise, it stopped being about me. I saw the worth in mourning. I mourn our son’s life, because of his inherent worth.
People like to think and say that God makes everything happen for a reason. I don’t believe that. God didn’t kill our son. And he doesn’t kill other people around the world. Jesus showed us how God would rather be killed than kill. These painful things don’t happen on purpose, but that doesn’t mean there is no meaning in them. The beauty of God is how He brings meaning to all things.
Mourning has to do with acknowledging and experiencing loss and brokenness, but when we experience loss we tend to spend our time clinging to the things we think we have. Loss is a powerful reality that touches everyone’s lives, but few actually allow themselves to experience it.
How can God be a comfort to one who won’t mourn? How can God be a stronghold for one who ignores their weakness? How can God give to one who sees themselves absent of poverty?
“How often I have longed to gather you together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.”
– Jesus, Matthew 23:37