Personal Grief Journal: Encouragement, the Selflessness of Grief

In a previous post, I spoke of the “selfishness” of grief.  A phenomena whereby the soul seeks to be center and lord.

Standing in juxtaposition is the superb selflessness of all involved.  I have seen, in my pastoral ministry, hundreds of deeply wounded people reach into the core of their being for a big dose of comfort for other people.  Those who are grieving often become the comforters.

Additionally, in my experience, the encouragement people give is of value in the deepest part of the heart.  The ministry of “Being There” is amazing.  All of the people who simply stand by one’s side and offer conversation if desired, or a helping hand, or a tiny nod of the head is of exceptional encouragement.

Dialogue is encouraging too.  The conversations are not linear, they take various twists and turns between quickly changing ideas and emotions.  One moment we are talking about death and the next about a delightful memory.  Emails, texts, phone calls, and kind words in passing all bring comfort.

We often hear about the gift of encouragement.  Through the passing of my dear friend I have found that gifts are encouraging.  Not only do people have a “gift of encouragement” but the giving of gifts is encouraging.  Thanks for the cookies, meat trays, meals and all of the other gifts.

Acts of kindness are encouraging.  When I needed to leave work to talk with my son about the death of his Uncle Joany, Dale Baker said, “Pastor, please let me drive you.”  He promptly went to his truck, pulled it around to the door, and was ready for a soon departure.

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