We don’t know how we are going to get through this season,
They sat through my office and said,
And their pain sat visceral in the room.
And I nodded along and prayed that they could find places
where their grief could be invited along with them and given a place at the table.
God, this is a prayer that Christmas can be more of a season of comfort
for those who need it.
I sat in the cards shop the other day,
and could not find one card
that expressed the comfort that I wanted to say during this season
of pandemic-Christmas tide. And I think, God
of what it exactly it was that the shepherds,
and the (actually unnumbered) Magi
and John the Baptist and Mary were looking for on that dark night.
The tidings were Good News of Great Joy yes,
but also, I think, it was comfort that they hungered for
Wasn’t that the fulfillment proclaimed in the Magnificat?
Wasn’t that the first title given to Jesus in Isaiah?
Not mighty* or everlasting father! No!
The first thing named for the Savior to come Counselor! Comforter, and a Wonderful one at that.
Because Lord knows this advent we are black with mourning and grief.
There is no comfort candle on the advent wreath (at least not traditionally)
But that’s who you are, Holy Spirit, Comforter.
And Lord knows we need comfort!
God, may we let this season be one not just of Joy or Hope–
if we aren’t feeling those things, let that be ok.
Help us to make this, for those who need it,
be a season of Comfort.
Help us to create a Season of Comfort, for the lonely, the lost, the grieving, I pray.
Comfort your people. Please God, because you know, we sure do need it.
And maybe next year, we will add a comfort candle to the wreath–
Til then, comfort your people we pray.
Feel Free to use/adapt/share with credit to Pastor Katy Stenta
Thanks to @byAndriaIrwin for the inspirational tweet
*note that the Hebrew word for this actually translates as God of many mounds, which means God of many worships spots (powerful/accessible) and God of many breasts/nourishing places. We have later shorthanded it as mighty.
Who loved us into being. I have the sad today. It is lingering on all the things I touch. As I wake my kids up, I miss putting them on the schoolbus and the few moments breath between home and work as I travel in.
I miss stopping for tea-coffee for some- as a pick me up.
I miss seeing my friends.
I miss alone time, truly alone, with no one in the house.
I also miss hugging others. How can I miss both at the same time? Only you know Lord.
I miss funerals.
I miss all the kids I’ll see grow: at church, nursery school, elementary school, at the college, and ALL the babies at playgroup!
Jesus who missed sitting by Lazarus when he died, who wept openly when his mother had to leave him to die alone.
I miss not having to wear an itchy mask that fogs up my glasses every time I go out.
I miss touching my face.
I miss not worrying if every small business, theater and church is going to be open next year.
I miss the therapies for my kids. I miss anyone taking over for the kids for an hour or two, I miss babysitting.
I miss talking on the phone for fun. I miss real meetings (Who thought I’d say that?)
I miss sitting in church, and singing and praying together.
I miss my sister coming out for Easter. She already missed last year, to miss two in a year feels a cruel trick.
Jesus what did you miss those three days in the tomb? The friends, the family, the touch. Did you miss the purposeful meaning-making of work? Did you miss your favorite food? Did you miss the beautiful lakes you frequented? Did you have a plan you had to cancel the morning of the last supper, when you realized the arrest was coming that very day? Did you miss a child’s first step or word? A niece or a nephew you had been waiting on?
I wonder if Jesus misses the very crowds that annoyed him now that he has ascended into heaven?
Grief is the slow journey of realization: That my middle child will never go back to elementary school he will suddenly move to fifth grader, my eldest will never be Peter Pan in Shrek, that my youngest will never get to see his brand new friends–who he just made this year–in school until after summer.
I’m grieving the small overnight trips I was going to make: for business and to see friends, I love traveling.
I’m grieving all the misses and the can’ts: the events, the peoples, the milestones, the simple moments.
I’m grieving not being able to go to the library and pick out a free book, pick up an art supply or even my favorite pasta from the grocery store (shell noodles).
It’s all, every single bit of it, real.
There is no piece of grief too small for Christ. Each one appears in my path, threatening to derail my journey–whether it’s a mountain in the way or a pebble in my shoe.
Lord, help me journey through my crumbs and mountains of grief I pray.
I lift my eyes to the hills of my grief, from whom shall my help come?
My friend is trying to comfort someone who miscarried. “What can I do?” “How can I help?”
We talked about how this is one of those situations that just sucks until its over…
And we don’t have good ways to process miscarriage, we don’t usually have funerals or rituals.
So what is the right thing to do in this situation?
Whatever feels right. Our job, whenever there is mourning involved, is to sit by the person, to be present, to tell that person they are not alone. Our job is to be with people and let feel what they need to feel in this situation.
I have never met this woman, but I still can feel the pain of the loss…so here are some things I have to say to those who have miscarried.
I know that you were a mom, for all too brief a time, you were and are a real mom.
I know that you loved that child with your whole heart, and that you miss her. I know that you had gotten to know her, only a little bit, but that time was enough. Its not fair that you are without your child, its a terrible, horrible loss. And such injustice is angering.
So Be sad, be alone, it makes sense you hurt all over. It hurts because it was real, it was all real..and if you ever need someone to be sad, hurt or alone with, I’m here.
And…if I want to offer help, may I do more than offer “Whatever I can do, call me” because asking you to think of something when you are grieving is the opposite of helpful.
May I instead give a concrete suggestion that you can, unperturbed, say yes or no to. Offers like “Can I make you a meal?” “are there people I can tell for you?” “Would you like me to stop by to give you a hug?” “Can I hang out with you, or help you get some time alone?”
And I want to tell you, you need to do what feels right for you. Do whatever you need to do. If your given a choice, don’t worry about the “right” way to mourn, just do whichever piece feels the best for you. I encourage you to do whatever you can to keep your connection to your child, to honor and remember her.
38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[a] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.