I am not a mourning person and because most of you my readers, are Americans, there is every chance that you are not mourning people either. We simply do not live in a mourning culture. Please read a little further before you start trying to contact me about my spelling errors!
In our United States, when we experience loss we barely pause to acknowledge it happened, much less allow ourselves to really sit and grieve or mourn. When someone we love dies, we might take a little more time, but not really enough. We don’t even talk about the grief that comes from the many little losses we all experience frequently.
Other cultures are far better at this than we are. I don’t have space to list out mourning traditions from other countries, however there are a few examples from the Bible that are very moving. Job’s friends in the book of Job, (remember him? If anyone had reason to grieve it was Job; he basically lost everything) usually get a bad rap as being very judgmental. However, they did do something that in our culture would be phenomenal. When they showed up to “comfort” Job, they sat with him in silence for seven days and nights! From our American point of view, it was an amazing show of support and shared grief.
I lost my mother to cancer when I was 18. Most people really didn’t know what to do. My brother, 16 at the time, had a friend who knew exactly what to do. He showed up and sat on the couch. He didn’t say anything, just showed his support by his presence. I think this is what is so hard for most of us about grieving. We are afraid to just sit with our own grief, and especially afraid to sit with others in their grief.
It is okay to mourn though. We know even Jesus wept. It might sound weird, but in our fast-paced culture you might need to make an appointment with yourself to grieve. It is really important to not keep all the hurt bottled up inside. Turn off your phone, lock your door, hire a babysitter, whatever you need to do to give yourself a safe space. Then, just sit with your Father, no expectations. Cry, sob, scream, journal, whatever you need. It may seem strange at first, but I promise you will be healthier for it.
When you are able to lift your head again, take a look around with this new sensitivity to grief that you have found. Do you have a friend that needs to grieve? You don’t have to have all the right words, maybe all they need you to do is come alongside them and sit on their couch.
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.” II Corinthians 1:3-4