Honesty in Times of Grief

Honest Christianity
in Times of Grief

Deborah Beach Giordano
© October 5, 2010

We tell those who are grieving,
“She’s in a better place,”
we talk about fields of green
and endless sunlit skies;
we insist that “It’s all ok,”
as they wipe their tear-filled eyes
and put on a brave smile for us
while they contemplate our lies.

For our words are nothing
but fantastic constructions,
worn and wobbly
from long use
and lack of maintenance:
sugar-sweet concoctions
like the witch’s house
in Hansel and Gretel;
the harm hidden
beneath the surface.

For we weep
not for the departed,
but for ourselves:
there is no “better place”
when your heart
is torn in two;
the promise
of a radiant yet-to-come
does not ease the pain
of the present reality
of loss and loneliness.

We have no right
to consign those who mourn
to a false celebration
of a Good News
they cannot feel;
we make a mockery
of the Gospel
by discounting their suffering –
for where is Love
in that?

Jesus wept
at the tomb of his friend;
Jesus was angry
at the misuse of the temple;
Jesus cried out
as he suffered on the cross;
he didn’t hide his own feelings,
nor did he scorn the emotions of others.

Those who came to our Lord
in grief, in confusion,
in desperation or despair,
were met
with tender compassion
not dismissed
with trite euphemisms.

It is easier
to toss off a few
well-worn phrases
like kleenex
as we run out the door;
it is Christian
to admit
that losses are painful;
to confess
we don’t have all the answers;
to stop
and listen;
to truly
care;
to be as vulnerable
to pain and suffering
as our Lord.

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About inklingscommunity

I am a struggling Christian, committed pacifist, near-obsessive recycler, incurable animal lover, inveterate tree-hugger; a nature mystic, a socialized introvert, an advocate for the vulnerable, an opponent of exploiters.
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