Journeying Through Grief
In my last article, we looked at how we can accompany others through grief. This time, I would like to focus on how we go through the grief journey ourselves because at some point in life, we all experience the loss of our loved ones. It is therefore not a question of “if”, but a question of “when”. How do we cope when that happens?
Of the five stages of grief coined by E. Kubler-Ross, anger is a taboo among many Christians especially when it is directed towards God. Most of us believe that anger towards God is downright blasphemous. Yet in the normal process of grief, anger is almost inevitable. Is there a proper way to express anger without sinning against God? There is a three-step process in dealing with anger particularly at God: first to “admit the anger,” then to “sit with the anger” and finally to “express the anger.”
The first task of coping with anger is to freely, non-judgmentally acknowledge it. The apostle Paul does not say anger is a sin. Instead, he says, “in your anger, do not sin.” (Eph 4:26a) It is alright to let God know that you are angry and why.
Next, we need to sit with the anger. For some people, just acknowledging and accepting it is enough to further process their anger. For others, it requires talking about the loss with those they feel safe with.
Thirdly, we tap into the rich biblical treasure in order to release the anger. A study in the Journal of Psychology and Theology has shown that feelings of anger towards God are decreased and intimacy with Him is increased among those who meditated regularly on the psalms of lamentation over a four-week period.
Personally, I believe that without going through the full extent of grief prevents us from experiencing what only God can offer – comfort and peace (Isaiah 9:6; Mt 5:4). If you like to read, I encourage you to read C. S. Lewis’ A Grief Observed which is a compilation of his journals reflecting on the loss of his wife. It opens a window for all to see how he is figuring out how to process his wife’s death, how to process the things he knew objectively but had never had to really deal with personally. The disclosure of his inner world serves as an invitation for all to discover the hidden gift in grief.
我個人相信，如果沒有徹底全面地經歷哀傷，我們將無法體驗到，只有神才能給予的東西 — 安慰與平安 (賽9:6; 太5:4)。如果你喜歡閱讀，我鼓勵你讀魯益師 (C. S. Lewis) 的《卿卿如晤》(又名悲傷的體驗)，這是他為失去其妻而作的反省的日記彙編。這書為所有人打開一扇窗戶，讓人看到他如何面對妻子的死去，並如何處理他客觀地知道，但從未親身體會過的事情。他內心世界的揭露，成為所有人的邀請，在哀傷中發現那隱藏的禮物。