Monday, March 31, 2014

When disappointment, grief and fear are gone



Today I heard from a good friend friend of mine that she miscarried her baby this morning. She was safely in her second trimester, out of the "danger zone" so to speak.  I was at school when I heard the news- the last bell of the day had just rung at school, I was busy trying to fill out a reimbursement form for a set of Catcher in the Rye books, and bam, there was the text.  Tears sprung to my eyes instantly as I imagined her pain, heartbreak and disappointment on an afternoon like this one. 

I have been reflecting a lot lately on God and death and the purpose of trials and disappointments and why it is that this life can seem so damn hard sometimes.  And it seems like no one is spared. Last week Greg and I heard the devastating news that a friend's brother had committed suicide.  At Christmas an old roommate of mine lost her little sister.  A former student tragically fell to her death in a rappelling accident this fall.

One thing I learned when my dad died is that there are two categories of things you can say to someone who is suffering loss.  1.Things that help a little bit and 2. Things that don't help at all.  There is no category of things that help a lot.  Only time brings that, I suppose.  At the end of the day it is still suffering, it is still grief, it is heartache.  No words take the grief away.  Grief is interesting in the way that it refuses to be seen out the door.  It is one emotion that absolutely will not leave until it feels like it has good and had its turn, no matter how many times you think you have successfully shooed it away.  Grief is an insistent guest that leaves only on His time, and never at your invitation.

But still.  There ARE things to say that help a little.

These are the things that people said to me that helped me most:
- I love you.
- God loves you.
- I am praying for you.
- I am thinking about you.
- You are an incredible person.
- I am here for you.
- You can call any day, any time.

Interestingly enough, I hated being told I was "strong" because I didn't want to be strong.  I wanted to be weak and I wanted to cry.  The worst was "I can't even imagine how hard this must be for you."  That only made it harder.

I don't understand a lot about God.  I don't even understand a little about God, if I'm being truthful- I've pretty much got a notebook full of questions for the man when I meet him again.  There is so much about this life that is unfair and unkind.  I don't know why he doesn't give a loving, secure couple a baby when they want it more than anything.  I don't know why he takes away someone's dad right before he was about to serve a three year mission for God.  I don't know why he makes some people gay and some people straight; I don't know why some of my 16 year old students have known divorce and broken families and terrible abuse; I don't know why I have a warm home and a great job but the 27 year old in Goya, Argentina has four children and doesn't know how to read.  I don't know.

One of my favorite scriptures in the Book of Mormon says this: "I know that he loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things."  (1 Nephi 11:17)   Sometimes this scripture is the only thing that offers me comfort when I'm frustrated with these big questions.  There is so much I don't understand or don't know the meaning of, but the one thing I do know without a doubt is that God loves His children.

Another favorite Book of Mormon scripture of mine is found in Mosiah 18:8-9.  The prophet says that those who follow Christ are "willing to bear one another's burdens, that they may be light; yea and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort."  It's interesting that he doesn't mention anything about being there for each other in good times, being willing to celebrate, being willing to party.  A true disciple is willing to "mourn with those that mourn."  I know that I will always remember the sacrifices that friends and family made the weeks and months surrounding my dad's death to be there for me and to mourn with me.  I can't forget the efforts to be at the funeral, the long late night talks in my apartment, the lunches loved ones spent with me while I was a muddle of tears.  Those were people who were willing to mourn with me, and I have a special place in my heart filled with gratitude and love for them.

I'll just leave with this before I sign off for the night.  One of my favorite hymns is "Be Still my Soul."  The year that my dad died I repeated the last verse to myself over and over and over and found great comfort in those healing words.  I pasted the lyrics below and bolded the phrases that mean the most to me.  My very favorite is the line in the last verse- "When disappointment, grief, and fear are gone."  What an absolutely beautiful promise.  If nothing else, I guess I will hold strong to that.

Be still, my soul: the Lord is on thy side.
With patience bear thy cross of grief or pain.
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In every change, He faithful will remain.

Be still, my soul: thy best, thy heavenly Friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

Be still, my soul: thy God doth undertake
To guide the future, as He has the past.

Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul: the waves and winds still know
His voice Who ruled them while He dwelt below.

Be still, my soul: the hour is hastening on
When we shall be forever with the Lord.
When disappointment, grief and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul: when change and tears are past
All safe and bless├Ęd we shall meet at last.


I would love to know the scriptures, quotes, and songs that help you the most when you are struggling with "disappointment, grief and fear."  Please, use the comment section today to "mourn with those that mourn and comfort those that stand in need of comfort."

Love.

23 comments:

  1. Bonnie, you are so amazing!! Thanks for these words.

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  2. It's incredibly sad when someone miscarriages especially when they feel 'safe' from these things, I wish them the best future and I hope you have a healthy and very happy pregnancy Bonnie! <3

    guesswhathollie.blogspot.co.uk

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  3. Thank you. Just thank you. In the last month Ive experienced a significant loss in my family and I think you nailed this! Thank you.

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  4. This is an absolutely beautiful post, you've brought tears to my eyes. Grief is the worst thing to have to deal with, and even when you begin to move on it lingers. This week, my boyfriend got home to find me crying because i had opened his post... a card from his grandparents. I had torn it open as they have the same writing as my Nan, who passed away nearly 2 years ago now, and on autopilot I had opened it expecting a message from her. This post will help so many people, thank you for sharing :)

    Sophie
    http://what-sophie-said.blogspot.co.uk/
    xxx

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  5. This has comforted me ever since the Virginia sniper in 2002 (I lived in the area he killed in): Proverbs 3: 21-26

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  6. One of my favorite scriptures is Ecclesiastes 3:1-4 "To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance."

    It really helped me after my Grandma passed and continues to help me now, three years later. It reminds me that we are all here to serve a purpose, but it also reminds me that God is the one in charge and that only He can know the right time for everything.

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  7. My dad passed away less than a year ago and I'm still struggling with it - you're right, grief doesn't just leave. It gets easier to cope with but then something can happen it is like the floodgates have opened right back up. On Sunday Chris and I witnessed a woman have a seizure and seeing the ambulance come, the paramedics perform their work, her being rolled out on a stretcher - all I could see was my dad and his last moments and I absolutely lost it. Just went I thought I was finally getting a grip on things, too.

    I really do believe we face trials so that we can more effectively mourn with those that mourn... In the moment, it is hard to justify our trials that way. But I know that those who had lost a parent were the people that I felt most comforted by when my loss was still so fresh. Our ability to empathize becomes greater after our trials because we have shared experiences. It makes me think we are becoming more like our Savior too since He experienced all that we have, including our hardest trials, and is the most perfect example of mourning with those that mourn and feeling empathy for others. I try to view my trials as a way of becoming perfected. I think of Ether 12:27. Still, it's hard.

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  8. For me, the timing of this post is so good. It may seem trivial to some, but hopefully for pet owners it will strike a chord.

    I had to put my pet cat to sleep on Friday, four days ago. He was 14, I got him in 2008, he had Multiple Myeloma which is a form of blood and bone marrow cancer. He hasn't voluntarily left my bedroom in December. We had no idea what it was until it was too late - I spent thousands on my little boy before we even had an idea.

    He was suffering and it was his time. The second hardest part, aside from watching him pass, was that my boyfriend was hundreds of miles away visiting relatives before he starts his new job. I was worried it would have to happen while he was away. So I was alone, and poor E was sobbing hysterically on the phone.

    I'm still so sad - but the blessing I've had is that SO many of my friends and family have expressed their sympathy and support during this time. Many are pet owners themselves, and many know how much that little guy meant to me. I find comfort in my friends.

    Praying helps so much. I like to talk to him, along with many other friends, family, and others that have gone on before me.

    I don't have a favorite verse, but sitting in prayer in silence, talking to God and to the departed, has helped me tremendously. Knowing that they are no longer suffering helps me to suffer less.

    Thank you so much for your post. I'm so sorry for your losses.

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  9. The first time I ever sang that song was at a funeral, and it's been so meaningful ever since. I love James 1:2ff because it reminds me that there should be an end result. I also like 2 Corinthians 1:3-7 which talks about being able to offer others comfort that we have found through Christ. It's a really beautiful picture. Sad news for your friend-praying for her and her family.

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  10. The last verse of "Come, Come, Ye Saints" always makes me cry. I guess it makes me think about all those people who passed away before I felt like their journey was through. The whole song is very hopeful, though.

    And should we die before our journey's through,
    Happy day! All is well!
    We then are free from toil and sorrow, too;
    With the just we shall dwell!
    But if our lives are spared again
    To see the Saints their rest obtain,
    Oh, how we'll make this chorus swell--
    All is well! All is well!

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  11. Another comment - Bonnie, after today, can you please consider anchoring this post to your "On Death and Healing" sidebar? I think these scriptures, quotes, and songs that help us the most when weare struggling with disappointment, grief and fear will definitely help others in the future.

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  12. We're told and taught how to deal with physically wounds, how to deal with someone who is being rude, how to deal with a break up, even how to deal with someone who is grieving... But when it comes to our own grief? No one tells us how to act or how to deal with grief. But I now know, grief is a forever emotion.

    I lost my son at 26 weeks gestation, I heard about stillbirths but never thought it happened to "real people". We all know about the "danger zone" the first trimester and the possibly of miscarriages, but hardly nothing about giving birth to your baby's lifeless body. I didn't know how to handle this or if it was "normal" to grieve for someone I never met because no one tells you about grief.
    Also I had a hard time with this loss because I was being selfless by placing my baby for adoption... Why God why?! Why did I have to lose my baby when I was being so selfless but a women that is a still intaking drugs while pregnant, didn't?
    Heavenly Father works in mysterious ways and we will never know why He does things while we're here on Earth.
    It took me time to realize the loss of my baby boy was a blessing in disguise and Heavenly Father did this for a better good. Weird to say, but that's what I believe.

    A total ramble on what you talked about and I totally love this post, like all your other posts.

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  13. I have a cousin who lost her 4-month-old to meningitis, and given that my husband and I have a son who was the same age at the time, this event hit us like a ton of bricks. I wish I could make sense of it all, but I do know that God heals and that because of our experience mourning with my cousin we are more feeling and empathetic. God has carved out some of my most important characteristics through my life's sorrows.

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  14. I've always loved in Romans how there's a verse which talks about how the Holy Spirit prays for us with sighs too deep for our understanding. How when we don't know what to pray, he is praying for us.

    I also remember a time in college I was going through a lot and I was crying to a good friend of mine. She told me about the faith of a mustard seed passage and how tiny that faith is. It's the faith of the next breath.

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  15. I have a co-worker going through some serious medical issues. Thank you for sharing words that were helpful for you to hear. I will be sure to be more thoughtful in my word choice.

    My favorite song of comfort is "It Is Well". The hymnist wrote the song after a serious of tragedies. First, his only son died. A year later, a fire left him in financial ruins. And then two years after that, his wife and four daughters were traveling from America to Europe on a ship. The ship sank and his wife was the only survivor in his family. I just thought the song was so powerful after I read the history behind it.

    When peace like a river attendeth my way
    When sorrows like sea billows roll
    Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say
    It is well, it is well with my soul

    -Jackie
    http://ournashvillelife.blogspot.com

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  16. I've really been mourning the loss of my Papaw lately. It's been 7 and a half years, but with my college graduation, new job, new car, and new apartment, and my sister's wedding, his absence is felt more than ever. Matthew 5:4 and Ecclesiastes 3 are really comforting to me.

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  17. I love this: "1.Things that help a little bit and 2. Things that don't help at all. There is no category of things that help a lot." As "depressing" as it may sound, I think it is so true and is helpful for people to know when trying to comfort a friend. I also totally agree that I take a bit of offense when people jump to calling me "strong"...I feel as though that gives me expectations for how I must grieve and I'd prefer to just be me, in grief. Another profound post, Bonnie - thank you for sharing your thoughts!

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  18. When I am struggling, I read Isaiah 49:15-16, part of which says:

    "Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee. Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands."

    This scripture is so beautiful to me, because it reminds me that no matter where I am or what I am struggling with or rejoicing for, my Savior is right there with me, because I am graven on His hands. And with those hands, He will lead me, guide me, and walk beside me. Always.

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  19. Also, I love Lamentations 3:20-25. Jeremiah is at rock bottom, but he still says God's lovingkindnesses never cease...God is faithful!

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  20. I'm so sad for your friend. My heart truly aches for her. There are many songs and scriptures that have helped me through my miscarriages, but the one that comes to mind right now is a song called "Held" by Natalie Grant. It's a beautiful song.

    Melanie

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  21. My thoughts and prayers are with your friend. After my miscarriage I heard a sermon preached on Deuteronomy 29:29 and it brought me a lot of peace: "The secret things belong unto the Lord our God:" There's great comfort in knowing that he has a plan and works all things together for good even if we don't understand it.

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  22. Thank you for this. One of my oldest and closest friends died in a car accident Monday night. Rereading this post and the comments has been surreal, but I think helpful as well.

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  23. I just had my second miscarriage in 6 months, and I really appreciate your words Bonnie :) thanks for posting

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