When you don't know what to say...

Although grief is a normal part of the human experience on this side of glory, it is never pleasant and it is never what you expected it to be. Today, I am feeling empathy for a dear family in our church going through the passing of their collective father, brother, uncle, teacher and friend. His eternal security is certain, he knew his Savior well, and spoke of his heavenly home often. But still, there has been a great loss here. What are we to do to comfort them? What are we supposed to say when we don't know what to say?

This may not be a perfect answer, but it's one I've been working through over the last decade or more. I've written about it before, and it has to do with celebrating the little things. 

1. A little grief lasts a long time
Grief has a way of sneaking up on a person when they least expect it. While this can take a person off-guard, most people see it as a blessing, because it means that we haven't forgotten about the person we love. The pain is real, but it reminds us once again of the depth of the relationship.

2. A little help makes a big difference
Let's face it. Very few of us are good about seeking help from others when we need it. But at some level all of us need a helping hand, or a shoulder to cry on from time to time. It is important to remember that when interacting with your circle of relationships. Help someone today, and have an impact for many tomorrows.

3. A little trauma does every marriage good
This one is tough to acknowledge, but it is as true as anything else I might list here. The day(s) our son needed open heart surgery, or even the day he died was not as traumatic to our relationship, as the months of emptiness that followed. Still, looking back from the other side, surviving those emotion-less moments has made our desire and passion for one another more real than ever.

4. A little hope illuminates a great distance
I recently read a book by Katie Davis Majors along the same line of thought. In the midst of all the pain and all the hurt, hope seems even more real and tangible than ever. Our Josiah lived his entire eight months on this planet somewhere on the bubble between dire emergency and urgent critical care. As his parents, this could feel incredibly defeating. However, a little good news, a tiny ray of hope was enough to sustain us for days and days. 
My good news, my ray of hope in this life is found in Jesus. "We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure." Heb 6:19

When you don't know what to say, (like the way I feel today), take the opportunity to celebrate the little things. God is writing a grand story across all of time, and he allows each of us to experience a little part of that grand narrative. For these dear loved ones of ours, it is an honor to have been included in the journey.

-Pastor Milo



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