Oct 13, 2023 |
Rector's Blog, Good Grief| The Rev. Philip DeVaul
Rector's Blog, Good Grief
I have lived a few places now: several rounds in Southern California – both in Orange County and Los Angeles, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Maine, North Carolina, Virginia, and now Cincinnati Ohio. Most of these places have felt like home at one point or another. I am always happy to go back to any of these places to visit. At the same time, it’s just that: A visit. I need to consult Google maps to get places I used to know by memory. I imagine alternate realities where I never left California in the first place, or where I never left New England, or where I settled down in Charlotte. So many things I was, and so many I could’ve been. There’s beauty in that, and also some grief.
Grief is different than regret. I do not wish I had made different decisions, that my life was different. It’s not that. It’s just an acknowledgment of all the loss that life brings.
We have a desire to demonize grief, to minimize it or stifle it completely if possible. And when experiencing grief there is some part of us that feels guilty, like we should not be feeling this, like it’s maudlin or overly sensitive. Our goal seems to be to get through grief as quickly as we can. I wonder why that is. Christians can be particularly problematic. We will often try to short-circuit grief by pointing to God’s plan or the promise of Heaven. As if our belief that everything is going to be ok means that we should not experience grief.
But grief is not evil. Grief is a gift, because it is honest about the things that we have lost.
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