March 7, 2013

What Can I Say?

I hope you read my last post, and then clicked through to Les' blog. His story is compelling and painful, sickening and heartening.

Some of what disturbed me most were the reactions of some ostensible 'Christians' to Les in the weeks and months following that tragedy.

Dealing with someone who is grieving is difficult for the majority of people. It's even harder for all parties involved when death comes through horrific tragedy. Our compassion wants us to help, but without a modicum of grief counseling training, it's extremely difficult to know what to do. Feeling the grasp of the futility of which Qoheleth wrote, many times the only thing left to the bystander is what we can say.

We want desperately to speak words of wisdom to help guide the grieving one (and as often as not, ourselves) to a point of healing.

The thing is, wisdom doesn't heal; only Love heals.

Wisdom helps us to grow in times of peace and mundanity; Love helps to heal and return to growth. As my old friend Kirk (also a Church of Christ preacher) once said to me, "People don't care about how much you know until they know how much you care." Those words are as true as any ever spoken on Earth.

It's ok to be at a loss for words for the grieving in their grief. The grieving don't need words of wisdom, they need love and compassion.

Sometimes the only words necessary are, "I'm so sorry, I love you."

Isn't that really what Christ was saying to us at the Cross?

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