Loss is a universal experience. Everyone that lives long enough suffers the loss of, or separation from, someone they love, cherish and trust. Loss can leave you feeling empty, hurt and despondent. Sometimes, all you feel like doing is crying. Crying, grief, and mourning: whatever you want to call it, how you think about it will affect how you heal and move forward in life.
Jesus cried over the loss of his friend Lazarus, as well as witnessing the pain of the family left behind (John 11:32-35). Jesus was the strongest man that ever lived. Jesus had more faith than any human being in history. Jesus was God, the creator of the universe, in the flesh (John 1:14; Colossians 2:9). Jesus cried! Crying is not an inherent sign of weakness. Crying is natural, it is human. One of the most unhealthy, dehumanizing things you can do to yourself when suffering loss and grief is to keep yourself from crying.
If crying was a bad thing, and did not have its place, Jesus would not have done it. Is there a certain period of time when you should not cry over a loved one? If there is, I have not read it. I have observed that they more you feel guilty about crying, or that you should not cry anymore, than it can actually get worse. God has all the time in the world for your tears (1 Peter 5:6-7). The tears come from your cares, your burdens, your pain, your hurt. God invites you to unload your cares on him. God never gave you a deadline, so don’t make one for yourself.
What if you are not hard on yourself about crying, but you work in public, or do not want to depress everyone around you by your crying? I can understand the difficulty of wanting to unload at the mention of someone’s name, or when a memory comes up suddenly in your mind. It can make it difficult to get work done. Plus, you don’t want people walking on eggshells worried that they may say something to trigger your tears. Try some of the following things that may help during difficult times of sorrow:
- Wake up early, or stay up a little later, and have some alone time with your memories.
- Write down how blessed you were by your departed loved ones. Write down why you miss them. As much as it can hurt to think about, it has a tremendous way of helping the healing process.
- As much as you acknowledge the death of your loved one(s), also acknowledge the blessedness of where they are now. For example, as much as I want my mother, brother, and step-father here for just an hour, I never want to take them away from the peace they enjoy. This practice can help create a healthy thought balance.
- Adopt an activity in their honor. If you are alone during the holidays because the ones you used to share them with are no longer here, volunteer your time at a shelter. Give yourself to others that ache for someone’s love and attention, too.
- Write cards, or make call to others, telling them how much they mean to you. Ask them how their life is going, and thank God for all they are doing and have in life.
These are just a few ideas that can help during the times you feel like all you want
to do is cry. Don’t feel guilty about it, just make some time for it. Do not run away from it, but embrace it as a healthy part of your healing and growth. Think about it: if you did not hurt and cry, then did you really have anything worth missing at all? Your sorrow is just evidence you had someone really good in your life. What a blessing to treasure! If you find that after time the grief and pain does not ease, have the courage to talk to a counselor or minister. They are there to listen and care for you. If they believe you need more help, they will certainly advise you where you can find it. When you feel like all you want to do is cry, it is a sign you were blessed in life. You have friends that care, and others need your love shared with them.
***What are some things that have helped you during the times of sorrow and hurt? I would love to hear about it. Feel free to e-mail me at email@example.com or (806) 240-3087.