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Grief and Grieving

“Unresolved grief will linger until it is processed and dealt with—we can run, but we can’t hide. Many times we are afraid to grieve, thinking we may become lost in our grief and not be able to find our way out. However, grieving hidden losses is a necessary part of our healing and theosis, our striving to attain union with God…Grief often comes in waves, so we need to be careful not to prematurely declare our grieving process over. Those who have experienced intense grief compare it to being adrift on the sea, at the mercy of tides and currents. To resist or fight these currents would only make our condition worse, and we would exhaust ourselves. We let the waves and currents of grief carry us until we find ourselves on that quiet shore of closure and become aware that it is time to move on.” (Fr. Joshua Makoul)

“Grief isn’t a luxury, it’s an appropriate response to loss. You don’t just will it away. If you allow it to run its course, it will fade with time, but if you ignore it or pretend it doesn’t exist, it only gets worse.” (Richard Paul Evans)

“In sickness and, in general, during bodily infirmity, as well as in affliction, a man cannot in the beginning burn with faith and love for God, because in affliction and sickness the heart aches, whilst faith and love require a sound heart, a calm heart. This is why we must not very much grieve if during sickness and affliction we cannot believe in God, love Him, and pray to Him fervently as we ought to. Everything has it proper time. There may be an unfavorable time even for praying.” (St. John of Kronstadt)

“…those who suffer grief, sickness, despondency, loneliness, affliction, persecution, and hardship know that the reasons for the sorrows of this life are beyond human understanding. Yet, they are not without the presence, support, and comfort of God so that they might endure whatever difficulties they face…Solace from God the Father and affliction go hand in hand. In the proportion that the Heavenly Father permits the sorrow, he also bestows comfort in equal measure. And both are for the encouragement, endurance, and salvation of others in the household of faith (2 Corinthians 1:6)… Whatever sorrow we have, the Lord is with us to offer us an equal measure of comfort. Of this balance of grief and consolation, the Russian and Orthodox novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky wrote in Crime and Punishment, “The darker the night, the brighter the stars, the deeper the grief, the closer to God.” (Fr. Basil)

“We are not expected to “get over” loss at any point….There is no shame in weeping five months, five years or fifty years after a loss. We continue to pray for the souls of our loved ones just as we pray for the saints, that their souls rest “where there is no pain, no sorrow, no sighing, but life everlasting…In times of suffering, the Church encourages us to fully experience our story and, as my good friend and teacher Dr. Albert Rossi would say, become a healing presence for others. Deepening our understanding of our faith relinquishes our need to tell each other empty words like “God won’t give you more than you can handle” and “He/she is in a better place.” Instead, it allows us to offer prayer, presence and understanding that strengthen our relationship to God and each other.” (Danielle Xanthos)

“…our lives change constantly. Along with these changes we may experience a sense of loss. We suffer loss in all dimensions of life: physical, relational, emotional, financial and spiritual. The most profound loss occurs with the death of a loved one. Death, anticipated or sudden, is capable of devastating those left behind. It may thrust the bereaved into a mix of physical and emotional responses: sorrow, anxiety, tears, anger, regret, and disbelief, among others. Grief is an expression of our enduring love for one another, a love that continues even in their absence…” (Patricia Manuse) “

We need to honor the bereavement process. Grief is confirmation that the one lost was a person of value. It is the way we honor a well-lived life. In grieving, we follow the example of Jesus, who wept at the grave of his friend Lazarus.” (Abbot Tryphon)

“Grieving is the natural way we go about adjusting to loss. It’s the way we gradually come to know deep within ourselves—whether we like it or not—that the loss is real…All we have to do is look around us and we see that loss is one half of the process of life. New life can only come when there is a letting go of what was there before. This is the story of human existence from beginning to end.” (Joan Guntzelman)

“We all need to remember that sorrow and loss are a part of this life. Someone, therefore, will always be in need of our comfort. If we really care for people who are in trouble, we only need a warm handclasp or an embrace of loving compassion to beautifully express our upholding concern and Christian love.” (Rev. Andrew Demotses)

“…life is temporary…appreciate all that the Lord has blessed us with…learn that in life loss occurs and is often times out of our control. Through Christ and His Resurrection, we begin to heal our loss.” (Greek Orthodox Archdiocese)

“According to apostolic Christian teaching, there are two kinds of grief. There is worldly grief …which produces death. This grief comes when people fail to get what they want according to their sinful and self-centered passions and desires. This grief intensifies when people are told they should fight their sinful passions by God’s grace, rather than allow themselves to be enslaved by them. And then there is godly grief…which produces a repentance that leads to life. This is the grief of blessed mourning over the consequences of sin in human being and life (2 Cor. 7:8–13).” (Father Thomas Hopko)

“ 'For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation and brings no regret, but worldly grief produces death...' (2 Cor 7: 10)...The Apostle reminds me today of “godly grief” that produces repentance. It is quite different from the crushing despair of “worldly grief” that produces death. I need not banish “godly grief,” because it is a gift. It is a feeling of discomfort that moves me to action, to change my focus and return home. This dynamic is one that gives me life; it is one that instills in me a longing, a desire to move forward." (Sr. Dr. Vassa Larin)

“Here’s one way to distinguish between worldly grief and godly grief: one mobilizes you into action and the other immobilizes you. Godly grief is a fruitful and effective emotion. We are not meant to wallow in this grief. It is supposed to spur us to action, to change, to make right our wrongs, to be zealous for good works, to run from sin and start walking in the opposite direction.” (Kevin DeYoung)

“Thus, the verse of St. Paul which I quoted several days ago, “For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation and brings no regret, but worldly grief produces death” (2 Corinthians 7:10) became important for me. Worldly grief can be the door to despair (which we certainly do not want). To grieve in a “godly” manner, I believe, means to unite and offer my grief to God. Thus “we do not grieve as those who have no hope” (1 Thessalonians 4:13).” (Father Stephen Freeman)

“It may be obvious to many, but in my pastoral experience it needs to be repeated that the primary cause of depression is being far from God. It is the absence of God that elicits within us the greatest grief. Joy is not the absence of sorrows; joy is the presence of God in all these things. It is our impression that we are alone in the midst of our pains that is the source of our greatest sorrow. When God is there, all of our difficulties are infused with a mysterious joy. When He is not, even our greatest earthly happiness is unsatisfying.” (V. Rev. Josiah Trenham, Ph.D.)

“When someone close to us dies, we need a long period of time to work through our grief. Crying and sharing our feelings with others helps us recover and go on with life. Allow yourself and others the freedom to grieve over the loss of a loved one, and give yourself time enough to complete your grieving process.” (Life Application Study Bible, Genesis 50:1-11)

“I do “grieve with hope” — I breathe in the life-affirming and spirit filling promise that the reality I am living is not the only reality there is. I lean into the Word of God and trust in, rely on and affirm the victory of Jesus Christ. But I still GRIEVE. I cannot force my heart to ignore the pain and sorrow that has been laid upon it. So I continue to live each day, doing the work that God has left for me to do, but walking a little slower, a little more bowed down. For those of us carrying this burden of grief, the greatest gift is grace and mercy and kindness — we are doing the best we can.” (Melanie DeSimone)

“As Christians, we know and accept that there are horrors in this world due to the pollution of sin that creates conditions of immortality and corruption….But like Jesus at the tomb of Lazarus, whose understanding is obviously far greater than ours, we weep at tragedies. We weep, in part, because these things were never meant to be. But because of Christ’s sacrifice, crucifixion and resurrection, we have the promise of restoration and new life to look forward too, no matter what happens to us in this life, if we choose God in our hearts.” (Sacramental Living)

“We need to honor the bereavement process. Grief is confirmation that the one lost was a person of value. It is the way we honor a well-lived life. In grieving, we follow the example of Jesus, who wept at the grave of his friend Lazarus.” (Abbot Tryphon)

“I will not say: do not weep; for not all tears are an evil.” (J.R.R. Tolkien)

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