The following is something I published in the local paper; as such, it's not explicitly Quaker, but reflects my Quaker perspective. There's more to come, feedback is welcome.  

Everyone experiences loss at some point in their lives. Death is the largest loss: whether facing our own mortality, or dealing with the passing of a loved one, it is a life-altering experience. But we face many kinds of losses in all parts of our lives, such as the loss of a job, or of a relationship. Sometimes these are part of a larger, positive transition: a promotion, a child going off to college, friends moving to a new home in their retirement. However, even when we see the silver lining, there is still something to mourn. Each of these losses can change our daily lives in ways that we often cannot predict. This month, I will be looking at different aspects of transition and loss, and how our faith can help us through.

Often when we’re faced with a loss, our first reaction is denial: we simply don’t accept it. Sometimes that means flatly rejecting the facts, refusing to acknowledge what has happened. Other times, we use humor, treating the situation as if someone is pulling our leg: “Quit joking around and put Dad on the phone.” But the most common way of avoiding the reality of a loss is to simply say, “I’m fine,” and try to continue on with life as if nothing has happened.

Denying loss is not inevitable, but it is a natural human reaction. Even when we’ve been preparing for it, the event itself can elude us. As a hospice chaplain, I have spent long hours with patients and their families who know that death is near; and yet so often, they find themselves unprepared when it comes. We even see this struggle in the Gospels.  When Jesus foretold His suffering and death, Peter’s reaction is, “God forbid it, Lord! This must never happen to you.” This is the same Peter whom Jesus had just proclaimed would be the rock upon which His church would be built: but even Peter falters when confronted with the reality of death. With us, as with Peter, it can take a while to come to terms with what has happened.

Finding that “new normal” can take time, but it cannot happen without acknowledging the importance of what was lost, of finding a safe and appropriate place to express the grief. The novelist Pat Conroy once wrote of the danger of being eaten up by “that lake of grief inside” which has no place to go. He knows that, even when we tell others, and sometimes tell ourselves, that we’re fine, that we the loss will take a toll on us. This is especially true when we can’t seem to face it directly. In some respects, the death of a loved one is easier to come to terms with than some other, less profound losses, simply because that reality is insistent, and confronts us in ways other losses do not.

Acknowledging loss is a first step in what can be a very long journey through grief. It is difficult, even when we know that there are better things ahead. As Jesus said, “Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.”

Views: 136


You need to be a member of QuakerQuaker to add comments!

Join QuakerQuaker

Support Us

Did you know that QuakerQuaker is 100% reader supported? If you think this kind of outreach and conversation is important, please support it with a monthly subscription or one-time gift.

You can also make a one-time donation.

Latest Activity

Kirby Urner replied to Kirby Urner's discussion 'Connecting Quakers and Sufis (ongoing project)'
"Indeed I agree and Jorjani goes into that in his Perisian Renaissance interviews, contrasting the…"
11 hours ago
Kirby Urner replied to Kirby Urner's discussion 'Connecting Quakers and Sufis (ongoing project)'
"Hi Marcia.  Yes, the Sufi Gulenists as one might call them (are Quakers Foxists?) have or have…"
12 hours ago
Forrest Curo replied to Kirby Urner's discussion 'Connecting Quakers and Sufis (ongoing project)'
"Religions seem to intrinsically develop a mystical wing and a doctrinal one. Mystics from different…"
Marcia P Roberts replied to Kirby Urner's discussion 'Connecting Quakers and Sufis (ongoing project)'
"You mentioned Turkish service-oriented franchise of subsidized schools. I am curious to know if…"
4th day (Wed)
Mike Shell replied to Mike Shell's discussion 'An Exposition of Laozi’s “Essence of Dao” by Yun Choi Yeung'
"Thanks very much, Marcia. I will share your comment with Yun Choi Yeung.  Blessings, Mike"
3rd day (Tue)
Kirby Urner replied to Kirby Urner's discussion 'Connecting Quakers and Sufis (ongoing project)'
"More recent update. Link to my online journals…"
3rd day (Tue)
Marcia P Roberts left a comment for Barbara Babin
"Barbara, I'm glad to see you on this website! I think I already had sent you as an invitation…"
3rd day (Tue)

© 2020   Created by QuakerQuaker.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service