David Kessler, GRIEF.COM, writes that grief is love’s unwillingness to let go.
I don’t know about you, but I find my heart is filled with a profound sense of grief these days. Grief for a colleague whose wife died, grief for a pastor whose health is deteriorating, grief for the loss of civility. There is grief over what we see happening in our nation, grief over what feels like the lessening of the impact of the gospel to work for what is good and holy and just. To put it clearly, my heart is broken.
When I find myself in this place I turn to read the Psalms that teach about the power of the lament. “How long, O Lord, how long.” Nowhere in the Bible does God expect life to be roses and wine every single day. Life is real and messy and challenging and – as much as we don’t want it to be so – life is painful. Lamenting psalms give me permission to be human and honest with God. They also teach me about prayer and faith. Laments usually end with some prayer to God, and some statement of belief that God will indeed do something. Even though the grief and all that goes with it doesn’t immediately leave when I pray a lament, there is something of a stillness that is present in the depths of my soul when I remember that God is greater, that hope is not lost.
I believe the words that Kessler writes are true ones. Grief is love’s unwillingness to let go. Because I believe in God’s presence and power I believe love will not let go:
Love will not let go of those we no longer are able to hold in our arms.
Love will not let go of friends in their illnesses.
Love will not let go of hope and dreams for this nation that I care about.
Love will not let go hope for a better tomorrow for all people.
Love will not let go of the church and God’s ability to bring about justice and change.
Love won’t let you go either. The next time you find your heart lost in the world of grief turn to the psalms. (Psalm 13, 44, 60, 22, 85 – are just a few.) Cry them from the depths of your being. Then when you are ready stand to your feet. March on. Work for love to be made known in this world. Act for justice to be a greater reality. Be love and Love radically.
Love never ends.
Rev. N. Susan Brims
Missional Strategist & Superintendent
Desert Southwest Conference
The United Methodist Church