Good Grief

Last week I posted this on Facebook and Twitter:

My Photo-1

What ensued was a bigger, and largely different, response than I imagined. I wanted to push grief to the forefront. Not in a spastic, irresponsible attempt to get attention. Although… perhaps anxious teenager (or talk-it-out, process-oriented person) now has another means to express their anguish thanks to social media? Which may actually be a good thing, but I digress. Shoot, I was attempting to normalize mourning, to make our culture and the community we keep a safe place to grieve. At first I thought, “No, you don’t get it!” But maybe I was the one who didn’t understand…

Our society grieves, regardless.

For instance, a lot of popular music (even “pop music”) is about breakups, missed opportunities, harmful actions and dreadful situations. One could make a strong case that songs expressing brokenness are the ones people most gravitate towards. People connect with these types of songs because they can relate. We feel some measure of relief and joy… even experiencing a supernatural connection, a moment of healing or even reconciliation. Maybe we experience God in these songs and meet the Holy Spirit through the movement of these songs which reach our heart?

But back to my “expressing grief on social media post”… A few liked the comment – a display of solidarity (hopefully) – someone shared it as if it expressed their own feelings, and several others commented with thoughts of sadness and offering of prayer for me and the awful situation I was experiencing. One invited me to commiserate over good beer. Another called to say hello and see how I was doing.

So maybe all we have to do is openly grieve and people will grieve with us?

I am struck by the cultural act of mourning described in the scriptures of ancient Middle-Eastern Jewish ways of dealing with grief, particularly as described in the Gospels. When someone was dying or had just died, women were noted as openly wailing. John even describes Jesus as deeply moved – “Jesus wept” – when his friend dies and others openly mourn their loss. This is important.

Will we openly grieve? Will we feel for others when they express themselves instead of hoping they would shut up and deal with their situation “appropriately”? For all the grief that does take place in our culture(s), can we, as a Community and communities offer places and space to grieve more openly, to make finding solace, peace and rest more readily available through grieving with others? I hope so.

Perhaps all one needs to do is write a mournful post on Facebook and listen to music? 😉