“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18)

As you read this, I will be just returning from speaking at the funeral for my uncle David in Ohio.  Although my uncle was a believer and the service was positive and hopeful because of his faith, it still brought a cloud of sadness upon me as I began to think about how best to summarize his life.  Because of the task of presenting the Eulogy for uncle David, my spirit was a bit crushed last week and today.  It struck me how difficult it is to know how to walk alongside those who grieve.  I commend to you this reading that I found helpful last week as I was preparing for the funeral.

“Religion is for old people”,” my buddy declared as we drove through the countryside. I found his comment a little insulting: I was a churchgoer, age 19. Was that so wrong? I lost touch with him; now it’s been 25 years since we’ve spoken. But he was on to something. At 20 the road looks clear all the way to forever.  We arrogantly waste time, try 100 new jobs or relationships or ideologies, believe any fool thing. 

The heart is not yet broken, not the way it is when time crashes down on it – soured dreams, career missteps, divorce, illness, the death of loved ones, the passing of so much we love. By old age, the ghostly procession of the “once-was” can be unbearable.

My heroes include any elderly persons who keep the flame lit, who still feel inspiration and outrage at ideas, current events, history, movies, books, national tragedies, spring flowers, the passing parade. Somehow they take it all in. Life enlarges their spirit, becomes fuel for the remaining journey, seasoned with humour, not bitterness. They age with dignity. Part of the dignity is keeping the inevitable heartbreak framed by larger perspectives and by going deeper into the grief, not denying it. 

From  A Turbulent Peace by Ray Waddle

The key phrase from the reading is, “Part of the dignity is keeping the inevitable heartbreak framed by larger perspectives and be going deeper into the grief, not denying it.”  My spirit was lifted when I framed the loss in the larger perspective that for us Christians, death is but a door to where we are meant to be – with God in the place he has prepared for us.  The Lord drew near to me in this realization and made the loss so much easier to bear.

REFLECT:

  • What is the policy at your business for bereavement leave?
  • How will you support an employee or staff person who has suffered a loss?
  • Discuss with your Forum how each Forum member has planned for the inevitable time when someone on your staff or a key customer may need someone to share their grief and perhaps articulate a larger perspective on death than they had previously imagined.

Corpath – John Wiseman

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