Tonight the members will bring a photo of their loved ones and tell their stories. There will be tears and (surprisingly) laughter as we share about the ones we’ve loved and let go.
It feels like a sanctuary, this night, like standing in the middle of St. Paul’s cathedral and realizing this is ground where all of mankind has walked.
This group has changed the way I write. I see the faces. I remember the stories. I carry each one like a gift entrusted to me.
The first time I did story night I cried in the closet.
I thought I’d done fine. I even remember thinking, “Yes, I’m learning to be a counselor. See, I can handle this.” Then all of a sudden as I was picking out my pajamas I burst into tears.
It caught me off guard and I sat down on the carpet in a daze. What were these tears? Where had they come from?
Then I realized those tears were from God’s heart.
I thought about Jesus at the tomb of Lazarus. Jesus wept…the shortest verse in the Bible and yet it speaks so much.
I knew then that God enters our sorrow. He grieves with us. He doesn’t stand on the sidelines and give us clichés. He doesn’t say, “Don’t cry–you’ll see them again one day.”
No, the shoulders of the God of the universe shook with sadness that day at the tomb of Lazarus. His nose ran. His eyes were red. His throat was raw.
God is not afraid of grief the way we are.
We tiptoe around it because it’s messy, uncomfortable, unpredictable.
It reminds us of our own mortality. It opens our wounds. So we don’t go there.
But not God. No, He’ll be the first one to show up at Grief Group tonight. He’ll have His arms open and His compassionate eyes fixed on those broken hearts. He’ll cry again with them as He did with the mourners for Lazarus.
And the amazing, mysterious, beautiful part of it all is that He chooses me to be there too.
My arms will be His arms. My tears will be His tears. My words (hopefully, prayerfully) will be His words.
If you’re looking for God’s presence, enter the sorrow of another. As soon as I arrive, I always find He is already there.
I need your help…If you have you been through a loss, what did people say or do that comforted you least and/or most?
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