Grief: How To Respond Part III

Greetings. Welcome to my post. My hope and desire is that you will find these posts to be informative and helpful for you. Life is a journey filled with mountains and valleys in our relational life and in our personal life. Sometimes we can predict and make something happen. But sometimes we can never predict an event or relationship difficulty and we need to adjust and cope with these curve balls. At times life can be great but as you know, life can also be difficult and challenging.

In my last post, I shared how pain, both good and bad sometimes, can lead to health. The same can be said for suffering. Let’s face it, no one likes, invites, or welcomes suffering into their life. It is not something that we voluntarily sign up for nor is it something we seek for our life. Suffering is not the category of choice for the game of Jeopardy: “Hey Alex, I will take Suffering for $200 please.” No, we do not choose it nor do we want it. But sometimes it is necessary. The challenge is to discern what is good and bad suffering.

For example, bad suffering is when we are faced with the evil and wrongness of this world. As we all know, there are bad people who make bad choices that affect us and instill bad pain and suffering in our life. We all hear the pain and suffering of someone whose house is robbed, a drunk driver who kills an innocent person, or someone who is assaulted or raped. We are all subject to bad suffering due to living in a world in which there our bad people who make evil choices.

In the same way, there is also suffering that can be good for us. Let’s say you experience a pain in your stomach or abdomen area that results in you lying on the floor in excruciating pain. Someone drives you or you call 911 and you go to a local hospital and they do a CT Scan in the Emergency Room and a physician comes in and informs you that you need surgery right away because your Gall Bladder is inflected and you have Gall Stones. Or the CT Scan find a tumor in your Colon that is creating an obstruction and this tumor in your colon needs to be taken out right away. You sign the consent to let a surgeon cut you open, stay in ICU for a few days, and then leave the hospital after a week with a big medical bill and pain and suffering in your life due to all the stress and medical surgery you went through.

Suffering is a lot like that. There is therapeutic suffering allowing medical personal to help you, and there is destructive suffering at the hands of bad or wrong people. With good suffering we need to say yes to this process, even though it is difficult and painful, and with bad suffering we need to say no and protect ourselves so we don’t expose ourselves to people and circumstances that can bring unnecessary suffering into our lives. Cancer treatment to get rid of cancer is good pain and good suffering knowing this treatment can lead to health. But losing a child or a spouse due to a bad medical disease or due to someone doing something bad to him or her is not good suffering and at times, cannot be explained.

Sure, we live in a society today in which we like to connect the dots due to our current investigation or research of knowing so much more today. But sometimes bad circumstances cannot be explained. Tell that to a 35 year old husband with his wife in the passenger seat and his two kids in the back seat as he is driving up from San Diego to Lake Tahoe for a family vacation when up ahead a rock or a piece of board falls from a truck and this rock flies through the air and goes through the passenger window and instantly kills his wife. This cannot be explained due to the bad suffering this husband now has to go through.

This is unexplained, is difficult for this man and two kids to experience, and overall leaves him with a bad storm of unwarranted dark clouds filled with sorrow, grief, suffering and a life of great difficulty he never signed up for nor should he have to face. Nevertheless, this type of grief is something that he cannot escape and entering the process of grief will be the process for him to enter so he can experience the healing for himself. Bad pain can lead to bad suffering or bad pain can lead to good healing. The invitation of grief is that one can participate in the process so as to allow healing to take place for him as he processes the pain and suffering.