The Benefits of Grieving With Others

Several years ago, someone ‘joined’ me to a Facebook group. A group created for those who attended the same boarding school that I grew up in.

For a lengthy period of time I paid little attention when posts were added. I was aware of an almost nebulous sense of discomfort within when as I scrolled past them. I became curious. I recognized that I avoided reading the posts because those years were so painful and I did not want the memories to be present with me.

God had a different idea and threw a curve ball my way when a picture of girls my age popped on the screen. Each one had a depth of hollowness in their eyes as they sat on very familiar bunk beds. It was a kick in my gut! I knew that despair and hollowness! Through the photo, God opened the door for me to start interacting with the other Missionary Kids of my childhood. My grief has been awakened.

I am not wanting to remember the visceral feelings of those years gone by!
As I realize that if I have a trouble with them now, that what I as a little person was going through at such a young and tender age was overwhelming. I can feel the ache expanding in my chest and sometimes clogging my throat!

It is sooooo not enjoyable!!

At times I wonder what could be any possible benefit of re-entering the grief of those years?

Yet the positive side effects have snuck up on me. And benefits have flowed to others.

– I find that I have become a different person through this journey. I am more tender. Not as ‘stiff’ and ‘dismissive’ as I interact with others. I’m glad for that.

– I, along with all in the human family, am designed to ‘be seen and known’. I am significantly diminished when this does not happen. Being ‘seen and understood’ by my MK companions has been good for me in a manner I never thought of pursuing. I have discovered some kind of an internal, “not-defined- by- words” benefit. Through comradery I have an expanding and deeper awareness of self. As we share our shared histories, I have a broader understanding of my journey and thus myself. I have an increasing compassion for myself and for others.

– I very much appreciate that I am getting a different understanding of God. An inner fog is a bit lighter. A shift in the ‘seeing thru a glass darkly’. As a result of being ‘seen’ by the other MK’ers, I am seeing myself more fully. And I am seeing God a bit more accurately in His perspective of our childhood and His compassion. I’m liking Him more. I’m glad for that.

Over the past several years I have undergone much grieving regarding the pervasive, ongoing and deep ruptures that have happened due to our childhoods. I have gained a tender wisdom. Regarding the way our mission ‘played things out’. Regarding ruptures within us individually. Regarding ruptures in our mission families who don’t talk, grieve or push towards repair. Regarding ruptures in our abilities to interact well with our world…

Grieving is not enjoyable. Yet the outcome can be good.

  • I have experienced Jesus joining me in my grief as Comforter.
  • I am more capable of sitting in sadness and not being overcome.
  • I am able to weep with others.
  • I am in a position to increasingly be able to receive more tenderness and comfort than when I was disconnected from my grief.
  • I can offer to others what I wish I had received and still need.
  • I am increasing in my ability to suffer well rather than live reactively shut down.
  • I am more of a woman that I like and can be pleased with.

5 Comments

  • Thank you for being so real and vulnerable. May we all find that sharing our stories with the right people is healing .

    Reply
  • I think I recognize “me” in this post! Thank you for sharing this message (I’ve only now discovered it on your blog). It’s such a great lesson on grief, and I love the list you made of ways you’ve grown.

    Reply
  • Our shared wounds are a wonderful tool to connect us to the wounds Jesus experienced for us. “He was wounded for us,” right? I know the picture you’re talking about, and it shook me too. Thanks for writing this, and sharing our common journey.

    Reply
    • Jim, I am grateful that we have re-connected and that our journeys help us track with each other!

      Reply

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