Sometimes in life words just aren’t enough.
I am a ‘talker’, and normally have no problem with words. But sometimes I am at a total loss.
Like when my friends grandma died, recently. What do you say to comfort a person whose beloved grandma goes from recovering and getting better, to death, in a few days time?!?
How does one deal with that?
What do you say to a friend whose father suddenly, unexpectedly dies?!?
How do you hold out comfort?
A friend’s mother dies at a relatively young age. What do you say?
What words are sufficient to bring peace to a dear friend whose father dies during a fierce battle with cancer?!? Is there words for that situation? Are there words that will bring peace – not just empty platitudes that make no sense?
These are real situations for me in the last 2 months. 4 friends lost either a parent or close grandparent. I feel like my words are insufficient for such a time as this.
I struggled some with this when my son died.
“He is in a better place.” (But I want him HERE!! With ME!!)
“He will never hurt again.” (But if I could have one more chance, I will NEVER let him get hurt again!)
“The pain will heal in time.” (Heal?!?! I don’t want to heal! I want to feel ripped apart every day for the rest of my life. If I heal, I may forget…)
“Life will get back to normal after awhile.” (Life will never be ‘normal’ again. Ever.)
“God must have needed a sweet little boy in Heaven.” (Oh, but God has lots of boys in heaven! I need him HERE!)
Oh my friends. You have no idea how these loving, well-intentioned words can sting.
After a time, I realized that it wasn’t the words that were making me upset – it was the situation, and the words and gestures were simply triggers. I knew they were well intentioned. I knew that. So I could smile and say ‘thank-you,’ ‘yes,’ and ‘I know.’
In time, I could even agree with the sentiments. But remembering the raw, fresh pain makes it hard for me to say anything to my friends who are hurting now. So hard.
And yet, I want to say things to them.
Words that will heal and bring hope and comfort.
Words that will bring peace and rest.
Words that let them know it’s OK.
OK to feel raw and torn apart.
OK to feel drowning in pain – but to remind them it’s OK to be happy and smile and have a good time with the friends who surround them with love during this hard time.
It’s OK to go in your bedroom and bawl your eyes out, and then come out and smile at your kids – because they are young and can only handle so much grief.
And it’s so much better to trust God now – better than hating.
Better than pop culture says, when they say you are free to yell at God and call Him names and then repent. No.
It’s much, oh so much better to trust.
To know that He loves you infinitely and allows everything into your life for a purpose.
To refine you.
To make you more into His image.
It’s better to admit your lack of understanding to God – but to confess you still love Him, no matter what.
That you don’t have to understand.
That you submit your will to His without knowing the ‘why’.
This is what I’ve learned.