In tragedy and grief, we come together as a community to both share and bear the weight of walking through it rightly. We do our level best to say kind things and to demonstrate loving actions. All the while, we wrestle with insufficiency and second guess our good intentions. Is there ever truly a right response? Is silence the best choice? Yes...and no to both questions. There is no perfect plan in the midst of grief. There are just humans trying to offer comfort and peace any way they know how. And therein lies the greatest challenge: we don't know what to say or do to make it better.
Accepting that reality may well provide opportunity for the greatest acts of sympathy. For when we don't have the eloquence nor vocabulary, all we can offer is love, respect and understanding.
A community expresses love often in the face of tragedy, by eagerly extending generosity. From prayers to proceeds, sometimes all folks can do is just do something.
Respect and understanding are a little harder to handle. According to grief.com, a few of the best ways to demonstrate true concern begin with admitting you simply may not know what to say. “I wish I had the right words, just know I care.” “I don't know how you feel, but I am here to help anyway I can.” Saying nothing or just offering a hug speaks volumes. Above all, the best way we can offer support is to call on the only One who truly understands and go to God in prayer.
“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted, and saves those who are crushed in spirit,” Psalm 34:18. The peace He brings is unparalleled and so incredibly powerful at times like this. His touch is tender. His comfort is complete. His love is what is needed most – for the grieving and the consoling. For His love is perfect and in our weakness, He proves Himself strong, and closer than ever.
Merciful and faithful Lord, because of Your great love, we are not consumed, for Your compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. God, You are our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Help us to not fear, though the earth seems to give way and a mountainous weight presses down on our aching hearts. Though waters of grief roar and in our shaken state, we feel like the ground beneath our feet quakes, we will be still and know that You are God. You, Lord Almighty, are with us. You are our fortress. (Lam. 3:22-23; Ps. 41:1-2, 10-11)
©201 The Word's Out-Brenda Black