It seems to me that I and most of the people I know have forgotten how to grieve like this — not only for others but for ourselves.  We have forgotten how to grieve at all.  It no longer comes naturally to us.  We have to learn it from self-help books and therapists.  Or we have to do without.

All I have to offer you is a list of don’ts.  Don’t forbid painful topics.  Don’t judge.  Don’t preach.  When people tell you of their pain, don’t say anything at all.  Don’t think, if you can help it, at least at first.  Just hear it and, if you can, cry.  Cry for them and for yourself, because you, too, have suffered such things, or will.  Cry that there is evil in this world, that we are all of us sometimes the victims and often the perpetrators of it.  Cry that people, however messed up, and even if they themselves caused the misery in which they find themselves, have to suffer at all….  Remind yourself of these truths about the pain of our world and the sins that occasion it.  Others’ sins.  Our own sins.  Because it is only this grieving, this taking of a knee, that truly comforts us, that connects us to one another and to God.

— Patty Kirk, Confessions of an Amateur Believer, p. 96

Leave a Reply