Is grief ever good?

After posting my blog yesterday on why so many of us hurt at Christmas time, I knew I had to post something “upbeat” today. It is, after all, the season to be merry! But timing is everything…

This morning I discovered via Facebook that a dear friend, our age, passed away yesterday. He lost his battle to skin cancer.

Locke was a good friend from church and UCLA, a college buddy, a man I met with weekly to disciple “in the day” and one of our groomsmen at our wedding. (He was the one who told another groomsman from Hawaii that, yes, he did have to wear shoes to be in the wedding!) We will miss him and his smile.  

In the past four years, Becki and I have lost both of my parents, two uncles, an aunt, two KidZ board members and, now, three good friends (including a friend, Don, whose funeral we attended just last week). That’s a lot of grief. Can there be anything good about it?

As I try to answer that question for myself this morning, I hope these reflections will be helpful to you:

 

  • Grief brings me closer to God, even if it is only to complain to Him about how much I hurt.
  • Grief reminds me that my days are limited and that I need to make the most of them, not taking anything for granted.
  • Grief reminds me that my days are counted and that the number is known by our Creator…personally.
  • Grief chips away at some of my hard edges, some brittle heart walls…it’s like a heart tenderizer… and it makes me a kinder, gentler human being (I hope).
  • Grief reminds me just how much I love those God has placed in my life: my wife, my daughters, my brother and sister and their families, my aunt and cousin, Becki’s folks, my co-laborers at KidZ, my good friends (I am thinking of several who I hold close, but would not risk to name here as I would surely forget someone dear)…you get the picture…and it reminds me to tell them more often.

If you’re grieving this Christmas season, I pray that God works his good through this experience, even while it may seem out of control. I’m praying for you, my friend.

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