Hopeful Grieving

First, please listen to this.

I’m not one for reactionary or knee-jerk writing but today it caught me off guard.

I was sitting at my desk trying to focus for the last half hour of the workday when my boss came in the room and said, “Did you see that two bombs went off at the Boston marathon?”. I hadn’t yet, so I googled ‘Boston Marathon’ and I saw.

I didn’t know anyone that was injured or killed. I don’t even know anyone in Boston. But I cried. Softly and very discreetly but I cried. It’s not like me to get emotionally charged over events I can’t even picture in my brain. I’m usually too disconnected, too removed from the place to feel something so quickly. I’m not a blood person. Maybe that was it-the first article I clicked on had a picture with blood stained cement.

It was the same color of red that lives in all of us. That’s what got me. I would bleed like that. You would bleed like that. I broke because life is precious.  I usually feel a deep sense of anger when things like this happen. Usually that’s my first emotion: I’m furious at the violence. But perhaps deeper than those initial feelings of anger, is grief. Grief is a good word. We should use it more frequently as long as we infuse it with the adequate meaning.

Grief. That’s what caused my mind to immediately feel such sadness. I didn’t have time to cover it, nor did I really want to. For this is reality, raw and unfettered: the prince of darkness loves evil. With that truth it’s hard to reach for another word than grief. Grieving doesn’t expel hope, but rather invites hope to enrich and fulfill grief. For hope would not be born in a world that did not need it. Therefore, we grieve. Therefore, we hope. Hope does not cheapen the sobs, or the silent prayers, but rather it frees them.

This is not a plea to stop the grieving, but rather a plea to grieve more fully. I plead with you my brothers and sisters, to instill hope in grief and therefore make it full. We are never without hope and therefore we are never without  grief.  May the peace that passes all understanding guide our hearts as we grieve a world that groans to be redeemed.

Peace, as we know that grieving with hope does not come with fear, but with a plea that echos around the world in all corners of the Church: Even so, come, Lord Jesus. (Romans 22:20)

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