My Friend Is Dying

It doesn’t matter who. That’s her business, but the fact is it is happening. Earlier I read about a different girl I knew from high school. She died from brain cancer. Another friend lost her baby through miscarriage. Another friend’s god father died.

If I sat here and thought a little longer, I am sure I could come up with more. It’s all around us. And it’s heavy. Maybe it shouldn’t be because it’s a part of life we know is coming from the minute a new little baby is born. But even in the instances where we know it’s coming, maybe even been coming for a while, even then it seems no one really knows what to say.

And here is where we have suddenly given a mouse a cookie and it all unfolds.

If someone finds out you’re grieving, they’re going to want to say something to help. Only it’s all so horrible, even if it’s your pet that dies or a neighbor you aren’t even related to or your car blows up, they are going to want to say something, but it’s all so horrible their words don’t come out right or even nice sometimes.

So after they’ve said something completely insane like, “This was God’s plan,” or “Let go and let God,” they will want to DO something for you. Dinner or the offer to take you out or make you listen to a really really sad, totally depressing song that was only written to make people cry. Which it did. When they listened to it, and because crying made them feel better about your pain, they assume it will help you as well.

And they say things like, “You’ll be better after you’ve had a good cry,” or, “God’ works all things together for his glory,” and all you will be able to think in response is at least they didn’t say, “I think your baby died because of sin in your life.” Except someone has said those very words.

When this happens, I no longer want to be a Christian.

It’s not that I no longer want my relationship with Jesus, it’s just that I want to be so far from these people who think being a Christian means saying crazy things at all the wrong times. Obviously most of these words have solid roots and truth to them. But these ill-timed Christian phrases are the equivalent of watching a little kid get plowed over by a big rig and bounced into the side of an oncoming bus and the first responder saying, “Sweet heart. You shouldn’t play in the road. Let go and let God.”

Let go of what?? My grief? Since when is that a sin? Let God what?? Comfort me? He is. He made my body to cry and snuggle and seek relationship. So let me.

To the one who is grieving. Realize that most people have good intentions and just want to say something or do something to help.

To the one who is comforting. Remember that you don’t actually have to talk. And saying I love you and offering a solid hug sticks in a much better way than a worn out phrase.

Grief is personal. So personal that it’s different between every person. Let them be free to grieve how they need to and remember that prayer covers much that goes unspoken. We are called to love. That’s it. Just love. Not fix, not redirect or correct how someone processes. Just love.

Lead well, my friends.