Monday, February 14, 2011

A Choice

Sometimes I am not a nice person. I admit that I can be pretty ugly (my mom's way of saying rude). 
Grief can bring out a primal impulse to protect oneself from further hurt.

In the past three years, I've found myself in a position to love on friends while they grieve. And I've found that while I'd like to think that I am super compassionate and quick to love, it is still a choice to give compassion to someone while they grieve, and not always an immediate response. Though we may feel sorry for what they've experienced, compassion is a choice we make after the knee-jerk reaction of how sorry we are for them. 
Compassion is love in action.

Grieving people may be some of the hardest people to love. Sadly, I often found myself in this category: hard to love.
Grief can make you defensive and self absorbed; a hermit who never engages with friends or family. Grief can steal and destroy the person we were. Navigating our new life and getting to know the new person inside, we find ourselves making more enemies than friends- though I believe this is mostly unintentional. Grief can make you more concerned with your own survival and unaware of the causalities around you. 

To give compassion to the grieving is to open yourself up to hurt and unreciprocated words of affection and support. When you choose to love on a grieving friend, you are asking to be uncomfortable. Brokenness and death and disease are never easy topics of conversation, but we must choose to open ourselves to these feelings in order to love our neighbor.

Jesus had compassion on the crowds, on the sick man, on the grieving sisters, and he chose to act in love because He understood true love. We can have compassion on the grieving. We can act in love because we have a perfect example of ultimate love. 

It is a commandment, but it is also a choice.

And lest we forget, there is also great freedom in the Gospel. 
We are, in fact, free to run and hide from the hard realities around us. We are also free to love the unlovable, knowing that our feelings may get hurt, our phone calls may go unanswered and there may never be a 'thank you' uttered for our efforts. We are free to live in a bubble, never venturing outside our comfort zone. 

But we are also free to serve, understanding that we may be a causality. 
We are free to love and serve because we have been loved with wild abandon. 


Katie said...

Ebe this is beautiful! I haven't commented in a while but I'm still reading and just wanted to thank you for this message about love!

Kelly said...

I always love to read what you write.

Sara said...

Ohhh I could relate to a lot of what you said in that post. I struggle with that too now as I think of the possibility of losing Samuel... what would I do, how would I react and interact with people. It is sort of this fear looming underneath all the worry!

Ebe, thanks for sharing from your heart! Love you friend!

Open Air said...

Wow. That's it exactly! The part where you described the grieving person--hard to love, defensive, withdrawn..well, that's exactly how I've been feeling about myself lately. You just put it into words so eloquently.
Oh, and about the book, I think you definitely should write it. I think this post is case in point!
Thanks for sharing!
And for helping me feel less alone and crazy! :)


Malou's Mama said...

Wow, this is a really powerful post. I am going to remember it.

Miranda said...


This is so true but not just of grief of the death of a loved one. It true of anyone who has been and is going through a great deal of pain or disappointment in life. Grief is pain and disappointment. We are grieving the death of our babies because we have lost them and we miss them so but we are also grieving the disappointment of losing our hopes and dreams with them. I have come to find that death is not the only grief we can experience. There is grief of a life that we feel we have been robbed from. Grief in lost relationships, bad childhoods and broken families. There are many people hurting in the same way that we hurt from losing our babies.

It IS hard to love these people. I am one of them too. Having experienced more than one type of grief, I think we should look to give grace to others who may be grieving just the same as we are but in different ways.


Cecilia said...

Yes. I don't often comment because I don't usually have more to add, but I had to say that you put words to a lot of the emotions that came with my grief.