I recently stood in a room with a suddenly grieving family. It was a family open to little bits of suggestion from me. And I offered that each of them had lost a different loved one, though each was looking at the same body.
The person in the bed had been aware of and valued the differences of each of the people in the room. Differences in personality. Differences in relationship. Differences in the challenges each was facing at any giving moment.
As I listened to them talk, I couldn’t imagine the person in the bed looking at a grandchild and saying, “Come on, why so glum. You need to just smile and everything will be fine.” I was pretty sure from what I heard that there would be space and comfort. There would be reminders that remembering can be both hard and healing, that time alone and time together are each appropriate and different.
I said to a family member, “God is at least as aware of our differences and our personalities and our challenges as this person who loved you.”
Tonight I’ll be talking to a group of people about surviving the holidays (you can still attend if you are in Fort Wayne and this is 11/9/2021). And I am aware that each of them has different holidays to survive, with different histories, different relationships, different expectations. And so I’m working hard to offer tools that can adapt to the hand and heart of the people present. I’ll be avoiding “just do this” and “by now you should” and “all you have to do” and “by now you should know that all you have to do is just have faith.”
And yet, what I know is that God is at least as aware of our differences and personalities and challenges as the wisest person we know, and offers healing to our hearts in the context of relationship with God and others. Not all at once, not the same for each of us. But for each of us.