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Healing of Grief

Today’s Reflection

I FOUND IT painful to remember these activities and feelings, yet the memories filled me then and fill me now with an overwhelming sense of gratitude. Perhaps this gratitude carried the beginning of the healing of grief with it. I do not recall having ever been so completely grateful for my mother’s life, her being, or her gifts in this way. It was like sunlight on a warm field, a hot meal in a safe place on a cold day, a soaking in of summer beauty complete with a breeze. It involved the limbering up of stiffened muscles, the waking from sleep. Gratitude works like this.

—Roberta C. Bondi, Wild Things: Poems of Grief and Love, Loss and Gratitude (Upper Room Books, 2014)

Today’s Question

Have you ever noticed gratitude in the midst of grief?  Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”
—Matthew 5:4 (NRSV)

Prayer for the Week

Creator God, As you draw us closer to you, draw us closer to each other. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room.

Something More

Who came up with the idea of using nativity scenes to celebrate Christmas? Many might be surprised to learn that Francis of Assisi, the well-known thirteenth-century saint, is credited with creating the first nativity scene. The Living Nativity: Preparing for Christmas with Saint Francis introduces readers to Saint Francis and his joyous reenactment of the birth of Jesus, complete with a manger and animals. Discover more.

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Looking for lectionary-based resources? Learn more about The Upper Room Disciplines.

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{ 7 comments… add one }

  • Jill November 12, 2019, 3:57 am

    For sure, I have. At times, it was what sustained me. Gratitude and knowing that God would use the painful circumstances for His glory, in His economy, in His timing. I still must cling to this.
    Even yesterday, I was grateful to be able to be there for my friend, Sharlotte – as we spoke at the funeral home. But – the pain and memories beforehand and afterwards are uncomfortable. But grateful she is in my life, how she supported me during mom’s final weeks. God gave us both the gift of friendship, through Him.
    I have come to realize more and more that gratitude is a choice. For myself – I must be intentional about it. Not presumptuous. Father – there is always much to be grateful for – and You are the center of it all.

  • Robert Moeller November 12, 2019, 7:00 am

    I’m a little challenged by the idea of gratitude in the midst of grief. Five days away from the 22nd anniversary of my wife’s passing I’m grateful for the peace God started giving me almost immediately, I could have been angry with God, but instead turned to God. While I still mourned, there was a recovery that started. I am grateful that Soo Ok did not suffer. According to doctors she passed in the most peaceful way. Did I, do I still miss her, of course, but all that medicine could do was not able to change the situation. I am thankful she is in God’s hands.

    Mom was tenacious. Despite Alzheimer’s she clung to this life with all her being. As I thought might happen, she surprised me when she passed. Here one moment and peacefully gone the next. I’m thankful that my sister and I were able to care for her.

    Dad passed away peacefully too. He had done all one would expect on Valentine’s Day and went sitting in his favorite chair beside my Mom.

    Prayers for all the loved ones the UR family has lost. God’s blessing on them and on you. Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted. Thank You, Lord. You care for us always.

  • Lou November 12, 2019, 7:03 am

    You are right Jill- gratitude is a choice. We can choose to be bitter and sad or we can get up and get going and begin our day praising God for all that he has given us. This is the day that the Lord hath made – let us rejoice today- no matter our struggles, our grief, our pain- we have much to be grateful for – God gave us His only Son- He loves us so. Thank you God. And thank you for this very cold day – help us worship and praise you all our days.
    Prayers for all here at the UR.
    Stay warm and safe today all- especially Connie- we have sub zero wind chills in Chicago. I miss your words Connie but i know you are following with us. Love and Blessings to all who come here today.

  • Julie November 12, 2019, 8:13 am

    During the first moments of grief it is difficult for me to think of being grateful. But as time passes, then gratitude for the gift of that individual (or pet) for knowing them and sharing love with them. Of course for those who had been sick and or in pain, gratitude that they now rest in the arms of our Lord free of pain and disease. Gratitude that I will see them again also follows.
    Prayers for Jill and her friend Sharlotte, both of who are mourning substantial losses, while rejoicing in newfound friendhip and kinship.
    Prayers for Robert as he approaches a painful anniversary. May he be filled with gratitude for warm memories and a love shared.
    Prayers for Lou, may she be warm and safe today. We are having cold and snow as well though not as cold as you.
    Prayers for Connie (I add to Lou’s). May she be warm, safe and know we miss her and love her and pray for her daily.
    Prayers for Marcy who also lives in Chicago, we miss you, love you and pray for you. May you and Lucy stay safe and warm.
    Prayers for Mary and the warm climate she enjoys, amy she remain safe and continue to improve physically.
    Prayers and thank you UR

  • Mary Clare Lach November 12, 2019, 9:12 am

    I have been thinking about gratitude and grief. In the last five years I have lost both of my parents, my mentor, and hardest of all, 6 months ago my little sister Lisbeth died in a car accident. When walking with someone who is ill, there is grief but almost a relief that suffering is over and those we love are in the arms of our heavenly Father. With my sister, her being 58 years old and taken from us by an impaired driver, it is a different kind of grief. Anger is in there as well as just plain missing talking to her each day. The prayers of my family, my coworkers, my parish family have sustained me. In a few weeks I have to give a victim impact statement at the sentencing of the man who made a lot of bad choices that day. Through prayer, I am not feeling revengeful and hope for mercy for him. That isn’t the way of the world, that tells us to try to get even with people. I am grateful for my grief because I have grown as a person- albeit a painful time of transformation- but I try to be grateful, even in small measure, for everything that happens to me. Because I was on the phone with Lisbeth when she was killed, I went to a therapist to deal with the flashbacks and pain. Through these past months, I have grown so much and am grateful for it. Still miss my sister- that will not change- however, I am still here and have a lot of living to do.

  • Mary Ng Shwu Ling November 12, 2019, 6:20 pm

    In the midst of grief, I am grateful for relatives, friends and neighbors who visited and their prayers as well as yours. Also, I am grateful to God for removing the pain and suffering of my parents and they are safe in the arms of Jesus.

    Blessings!

    Thank you all for your prayers!

  • robert moeller November 15, 2019, 2:36 am

    God’s peace be with you Mary Clare, very tough losing your sister that way.
    Thank you for sharing, you are prayed for.
    I add my prayers for Marcy, Connie and her husband, Lou and her children,
    Julie’s new med and relief from side effects, Jill and her friend Sharlotte, Betsy and family, Andrea and Lowell, Andrea’s daughter and grandson, Mary and Molly, Mary’s students, and all the UR family.
    Thankful for the positive help from Dr. Ross, continued prayers for Erich, Meesook, and Anneliese. We all need the Lord. Thank You, Lord.

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