Grief is hard for people to talk about. It’s hard for those grieving, and it’s so uncomfortable for those that want to love and comfort the grieving. Why is that? I mean, it’s a universal experience, so why do we avoid it or find it so awkward to talk about? None of us will make it out of this life alive after all. We will all lose someone we love eventually. Maybe there’s my answer. We don’t like to think about that. We like to put our fingers in our ears and “la-la-la” the subject because it’s scary to think about our own mortality and the mortality of those we love. When someone we know experiences grief and loss, it reminds us that we are not exempt from this kind of pain ourselves.
But does avoiding it actually make it better or easier? What if…just what if talking openly and honestly about difficult topics like grief freed us a little from the fear it tends to hold over us? What if exposing our vulnerability lessened its power? What if daring to talk about the things we fear freed someone else from isolation? And what if brave dialogue helped us care, comfort and encourage each other more?
This is why I’ve chosen to write and speak about my life, my faith and my struggles. I don’t do it because it’s particularly fun to shine a light on all of my weaknesses. I’m doing it with a prayer that if I share all of the good, bad and ugly moments during and after loss, it will begin an important conversation that empowers us to live bigger, love better and give ourselves and each other extra grace.
Last weekend I was invited to share a part of my story with my church congregation. Vulnerabilities (including double chins) exposed on ginormous big screens. Gulp! But I agreed because of all the reasons I mentioned above. My pain is not for me to carry alone. It is an experience, a gift really, that has deepened my faith, increased my awareness of the suffering of others and revealed all the ways we often try to hide our weak spots from one another rather than share them. Keeping our burdens in the dark is lonely and perpetuates the hurt. So I’m exposing them, talking about them, and I hope in doing so I’ve helped at least one of you feel less alone.
Here is the Mother’s Day message I had the honor of sharing last weekend. I hope after watching, you will be reassured that you are not alone. You are loved. God cares about all the things weighing you down. And no matter what your yesterday held, He gives us hope for today, tomorrow, and forevermore.
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I’d love to have you here and into the future.