Grief and the Risk-Taking Heart

Grief doesn't start when someone dies. Grief happens when any kind of loss slams a person into a wall, turns a life upside down, shatters dreams. We all know someone who is hurting, but often miss the treasures of going into the dark abyss of grief with them because we're scared or don't know what to do. It's risky. Grieving people sometimes strike out at the person nearest them. We are sometimes crazy! But we need someone willing to take the risk of being hurt in order to help us limp through the dark places. I repost this blog with hopes the message will encourage someone to walk in the darkness with a broken friend.

Originally Posted November 2, 2015

Grief and the Risk Taking Heart

A child is gone.
Family and friends struggle to reconcile God's love with His sovereignty. We are on holy ground as we go into the darkness with them. Though it is excruciating to go back into the abyss of sorrow, we go willingly for too many reasons to count. We desperately needed someone like us when our son, Mark and his friend, Kelly, died in a car accident. Someone who had lived in the foreign Land of Grief who could show us the way, give us hope. Our desperation for hope hid the sacrifice these precious grieving parents made in order to answer God's call to comfort us with the same comfort He had given to them.
We go also because to be with a broken-hearted person who is a daughter or son of our King is to be on holy ground. God promises He is very near to the broken-hearted. Yes, He is always with each of His children, but in some way we can't explain, He is nearer to those who cry out for His touch when their hearts are breaking.
In the darkest night of our souls, my sister, Jane Anne, came along side of me in a way that kept the light of Christ burning. I hated for her to see the ugly, oozing sores of grief that covered my soul. But she would not let me hide. God inspired her to express in words how she viewed this calling. I included this piece in my book, Treasures of Encouragement, Women Helping Women in the Church. If God is calling you to go into the dark abyss of grief with a friend, whether it is grief over death or any other loss, I hope Jane Anne's perspective opens your mind and heart to the realization that you are on holy ground where you will discover riches stored in secret places, designed to help turn your heart toward Him.

The Risk-Taking Heart


by Jane Anne Wilson

I donned the unbecoming yellow paper gown and cap and put on my rubber gloves and mask as I prepared to enter the patient's room. The effects of her disease were repulsive, and I avoided the room until her needs required my attention. Raw, open sores penetrated to the bone. Involuntary nervous responses resulted in embarrassing outbursts of unpredictable emotions.

Pain permeated the room, giving a suffocating feeling to anyone who entered. The windows and glass door mocked the patient, allowing her to see a world she could not join. This patient was incapable of caring for herself in any way. Isolation always seemed ironic to me. In other cases, we put on sterile gloves to protect the patient from our germs, but isolation cases require full garb to protect us from the patient's disease. It was always risky to treat these patients. Why take it? I experienced a strange phenomenon when I chose to take that risk. Somehow I felt more alive to be in touch with such intense pain. I felt real. Of course, I took precautions and could always take off my protective layer and go back into the routine life that my patient longed to experience once again.

This patient, though drenched with disease, had a strange pull on me. I was always glad, after I began to care for her, that I could be the one to help. Once I was there, I wondered why I avoided that room so much. Perhaps it was not knowing what state I would find her in that caused my apprehension.

The key to the treatment was convincing the patient that she would get better (though no one would blame her for not believing it). All the research showed that recovery required patient confidence that it would happen. This confidence would enable the patient to participate in her treatment, speeding the healing process. I needed to give her hope.

I went into the sick room once again and began the treatment. Very little healing had taken place and I could see that the disease was progressing. As I went about my care for the patient, trying to convince her with words that she would recover, the cumbersome isolation garb hampered me. The patient was suffering because of my inability to fully function, and she looked at me with frustration in her eyes. I was causing more pain!

For a moment I stopped, our eyes met, and I finally realized what she could not express. No, she would not ask me to put myself at risk, but she wouldn't believe my encouraging words either. I stared beyond her eyes as time stood still. Then, without a word, I removed the gloves, mask and cumbersome paper gown. For the first time a glimmer of hope appeared in her eyes. At that moment we both began to believe that her disease - grief - would be conquered. (Treasures of Encouragement, Women Helping Women in the Church, pages 185 - 186, P & R Publishing, used with permission)

In His grip,

Sharon Betters