‘Good’ Grief [v165]

NOVEMBER 2012

‘Good’ Grief

If I said, “Good grief!,” I’ll bet most of you would first think of Charlie Brown of the Peanuts ‘gang’. It was usually an expression of exasperation or frustration about something that just happened (usually something Lucy did to irritate him). Well, that’s one of the emotions I’m feeling these days—a ‘frustration’ that the grief I feel about my dad’s passing has not gone away yet.

Now, I know that these feelings for someone this close to me will probably never go away ‘completely’, but four months after his death, I am still physically tired (though I eat properly and get enough sleep), I am not as ‘motivated’ as I once was, and I experience ‘waves’ of sorrow here and there. I thought that this would not happen as much as it is, since being my dad’s primary care person during his in-home hospice, I lived with him and interacted with him hourly. I thought that slowly grieving little ‘bits’ daily would have lessened the ‘weight’ of my grief. Well, at this point, it has not diminished as much as I thought it would have by now.

So, I thought I would share my research into “grief,” and if it can actually be “good”—especially for those who are going through a much more ‘impactful’ loss that I have, like a spouse or a child.

 
Of course, it’s quite natural to grieve over the loss of anything that is important to us. But, sometimes, if the loss is great, the very ‘foundations’ of our life are shaken, and we can be ‘thrown’ into deep despair.

There are many kinds of loss—a job; a friendship; one’s health; a pet; a special ‘memento’; or even your cell phone—and there’s ‘good’ ways and ‘bad’ ways to grieve, depending on how important the loss is to the person.

 
In 1969, psychiatrist Elisabeth Kubler-Ross introduced what has become to be known as the “five stages of grief,” which represent feelings of those who have faced a tragedy or death. Based on her many years of working with terminal cancer patients, she proposed the following pattern of phases that most people experience:
– Denial (“This can’t be happening to me”)
– Anger (“Why is this happening?”; “Who is to blame?”)
– Bargaining (“Make this not happen, and in return I will _____”)
– Depression (“I’m too sad to do anything”)
– Acceptance (“I’m at peace with what happened”)

Although grieving is an individual experience, there are some specific symptoms that many people share after suffering personal loss:
– Physical distress; Feeling physically drained
– Can’t sleep at night
– Forgetful and unable to think clearly
– Noticeable change in appetite
– Eats, drinks, or watches TV excessively
– Dreams about the deceased
– Becomes withdrawn, apathetic
– Frequent sighing, crying

 
Though expressed in different terms by different doctors, I found that there are, in general, about 10 ‘stages’ in a normal grieving process through which most people must go, as they face up to their loss—and that the people who have faced up to their loss by ‘wrestling’ openly and honestly with their grief, have come through the experience much stronger, deeper, and better able to help others with their grieving:

1) A STATE OF SHOCK: Shock is a temporary escape from reality, and as long as it is temporary, it is good. Preferring to remain in a ‘dreamworld’ is definitely unhealthy.

It is good to keep fairly busy, and continue to carry on as much of our usual activities as possible during the period of crisis. The sooner the person can deal with problems and make decisions again, all the better.

For most people, the biggest ‘hurdle’ is accepting the loss emotionally—acceptance can be a very slow process. Unconsciously, people sometimes set as many ‘barriers’ as they can to inhibit acceptance.

2) EXPRESSING EMOTION: Emotional release comes at about the time it begins to dawn upon the person how dreadful their loss is. Then, sometimes without warning, there wells up inside them an uncontrollable urge to express the grief—and that’s exactly what they should do. Let it go! To ‘bottle’ it up inside unnecessarily will do irreparable harm.

3) FEELING DEPRESSED AND LONELY: Eventually there comes a time when the person feels utter depression and isolation—this is a normal part of good healthy grief. Be assured that, one day, this experience will pass—dark days will not last forever. Standing by a friend going through this in ‘quiet confidence’ is one of the most helpful things a person can do to help.

4) EXPERIENCING PHYSICAL SYMPTOMS OR DISTRESS: Physical symptoms of distress sometimes can stop the grieving process. Unless someone helps them work through the emotional problems involved, they will remain ill. No amount of medication will significantly change the situation.

Although the grieving person might have never thought of themselves as a ‘philosopher’, in order to ‘exit’ this stage and live a rich and meaningful life, they must ‘turn’ philosopher, and search for their meaning of living.

[ FYI: “The Search for Meaning” web site may be able to help:
http://www.thesearchformeaning.com/ ].

5) BECOMING PANICKY: A person becomes panicky because they can not think of anything except the loss. Naturally, this hinders their effectiveness in anything they try to do. To help themselves through such a period, the person should seek out new and different human relationships.

6) FEELING A SENSE OF GUILT: Generally speaking, ‘normal’ guilt is what one feels when they have done something they should not have done, or neglected to do something they should have done, based on the standards of their society (‘neurotic’ guilt tends to be way out of proportion to their actual involvement).

The person will need to determine if the guilt is ‘real’ and deserved. If it is, they then must come to ‘terms’ with it: admit it; accept it; repent of it; and allow themselves forgiveness of it. Trained help may be required when the going gets tough.

7) BEING FILLED WITH ANGER AND/OR RESENTMENT: When something precious is taken away from a person, they inevitably scrutinize the event, attempting to understand exactly why it happened and who’s to ‘blame’—and that might even be “God.” The best thing to do—before it becomes a ‘lifestyle’—is to understand that they’re human, admit to their close friends that they are angry, and ask God for the strength to rise above it!

8) RESISTING THE RETURN TO NORMAL LIFE: Our modern way of life sometimes makes it difficult to grieve in the presence of others, and we are ‘forced’ to carry the burden within ourselves. Also, sometimes people become more ‘comfortable’ with their grief than the new unpredictable world they will have to face (or they’re just ‘addicted’ to the attention). They want to stay with the familiar.

Friends can help a grieving person through this by demonstrating that they want the grieving person to share their burdens with them, and that they will be patient and compassionate with them. Be proactive when it comes to meeting their needs. Holidays and the anniversary of the death often re-trigger the grief response, so these are times to be extra supportive and loving.

9) GRADUALLY EXPERIENCING HOPE: The great majority of people need honest, warm affection and encouragement at this time—it makes it easier to overcome the attitude of shutting out new opportunities and finding experiences in life that can be meaningful again. The old ‘music’ will not ever be played like it was again, so the person must seek out other ‘artists’ that play it differently—and maybe even better than it was previously played!

10) BEGINNING TO AFFIRM REALITY: The person will become their ‘old selves’ again—but as a stronger, healthier person. They will eventually come to understand that ‘everything’ has not been taken from them. They realize that life will never be the same again, but they begin to have a sense that there is much in life that can be affirmed!—and this is “GOOD.”

 
So, is there anything else that can help a person go through their grief?

Well, persons who are spiritually mature seem to be better able to ‘wrestle’ more honestly with grief because they are aided by the conviction that God is with them—and they do not feel that they have to face the present and the future alone!

 
The Old Testament of the Bible clearly shows that when great calamities came to even the ‘hardiest’ men of faith, they were able to be ‘honest’ before God—their “tears were with them all the night long.” In the Psalms, King David cried out in isolation, “Why are you cast down, O my soul?…My soul is cast down within me…I say to God, my rock, why hast Thou forgotten me?…My adversaries taunt me, while they say continually, ‘Where is your God?’”

Even Jesus was not ‘protected’ from such intense emotions. When His friend Lazarus died, the Bible tells us, “Jesus wept.” Later, on the cross, Jesus cried out, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” Sometimes an expression of grief is beneficial not only for the one expressing the grief, but for others around, too. Author Douglas Beyer summed this up well when he said: “Tears are the safety valve of the heart when too much pressure is on it.”

Even though sometimes we feel God is not ‘hearing’ us because of the ‘pain’ we continue to feel, He has PROMISED that He will comfort His ‘children’ (maybe just not the ‘way’ we think He should!).

 
In many places of the Bible, grief is acknowledged as ‘temporary’, and it encourages us to look to our future hope of seeing God in Heaven. Jesus said, just before He was put to death, “So you also have sorrow now. But I will see you again. Your hearts will rejoice, and no one will rob you of your joy” [John 16:22].

To continue to encourage us, after Jesus left this earth, the apostle Paul—by the ‘inspiration’ of the Holy Spirit—reminded us of that ‘joy’ we will experience someday—to be absent from the body, is to be present with Jesus in Heaven [2 Corinthians 5:8]. What a wonderful hope to have!

Paul also instructed us that we should not “grieve not as those who have no hope” [1 Thessalonians 4:13]. He WAS NOT implying that the religious person should never grieve, he meant that the Christian has an assurance that their sins have being forgiven, and the confidence that they will be spending their life with God in Heaven—eternally! It also connotes that Christians do not experience the hopeless grief of nonbelievers, for whom death marks the ‘permanent’ severing of relationships—a sorrow unmitigated by any hope of ‘reunion’. Christians never say a final “farewell” to another believer—since there will be a “gathering together [of all believers] to Him” [2 Thessalonians 2:1].

 
Although the Christian faith is, ultimately, a ‘thing’ of transcendental comfort, it does not begin with comfort—it begins with ‘mourning’. Jesus even verified this by saying, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted” [Matthew 5:4].

Author C.S. Lewis points this out in his book, “Mere Christianity.” He said, “Of course, I quite agree that the Christian religion is, in the long run, a thing of unspeakable comfort. But it does not begin in comfort; it begins in the dismay I have been describing, and it is no use at all trying to go on to that comfort without first going through that dismay.” He went on to point out that if you first ‘find’ Christ, you will indeed find comfort!

In the same way, when the apostle Paul was being tormented by a “thorn in his flesh,” he cried out to God to remove it. But Jesus ‘said’ to him, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” [2 Corinthians 12:9].

 
The Bible consistently puts forth that ‘true’ comfort only comes from God—and it’s not just for us (“…the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God” [2 Corinthians 1:3-4] ). So, I guess I’m going through this so I can be a ‘comfort’ to someone else in the future!

 
Well, I’m still a bit ‘frustrated’ because of the physical and emotional ‘aches and pains’ I’m experiencing right now—but I know that they will go away soon enough.

At this point, I’m ‘HEARTBROKEN’ that my dad is no longer on this earth for me to ‘enjoy’ all the things we did together, but since he was a believer in Jesus, I am ELATED FOR HIM to be in the be presence of Jesus!—a place where there is no more tears, death, sorrow, crying, or pain! [Revelation 21:4].

 
Yes, my dad has been taken away from me for ‘a time’, but I have an INNER SENSE OF PEACE that grows out of my confidence that my relationship with God can never be taken away from me!

I have found solace and unexpected strength going through this grieving process in these words of Jesus: “I’ll be with you as you go thru this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age” [Matthew 28:20].

 
Throughout all of this, in my ‘spirit’, it’s been strongly reaffirmed to me that God is the ONLY ONE that can transform a grieving process into “good grief”!

 
[ Excerpts from: Granger E. Westberg; Ben Witherington; John MacArthur; Patricia Johnson (Focus On The Family) ]

[ P.S.: If you would like to investigate further about what the Bible has to say about “suffering,” visit the following link:
http://www.TheSearchForMeaning.net/sfm_pres/sp_q5_d1_1of10.html

 
Blessings…Mark

 
LIFE’S DEEP THOUGHTS (v165) for NOVEMBER 2012
If you have a ‘neat’ story or some thoughts about an issue or current event that you would like me to try to respond to, I would be glad to give it a try…so, send them to me at: mbesh@comcast.net

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“GOOD GRIEF”
“Believe it or not, “Good grief” is a bowdlerized version of “Good God!” (or “Good Lord!”), which is, in turn, a shortening of the liturgical response “Good Lord, deliver us” (from the hardship or vexation just mentioned in the Litany). In this case, it’s a response to a clear and present bit of unpleasantness, often a mechanical device that won’t co-operate or a vexatious person.

It’s hard to imagine a world in which “Good Lord” would have been unfit for the tender ears of the listener, given what passes for ordinary conversation these days, but it was a concern at one time — and the phrase’s use by the Charles Schulz Peanuts characters has firmly fixed it in the lexicon of people of my generation.”
[English Language & Usage]

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“The expression, “Good grief” is called a EUPHEMISM (pronounced: yew – fuh – miz – em). Euphemisms are words we say that are more socially acceptable than what we would otherwise choose to say. “Good grief!”, is an expression that means we are very irritated or upset about something. The “…grief” part of the expression refers to the emotional sense of being irritated or upset; grieving about what has happened. The “Good…” part of the expression is a reference to God which is intended to add emphasis and impact to the expression. Many people do not like to say the word God in public conversations so they often substitute the word “Good” instead.

“Good” and “grief” have their own separate meanings as words. But, in this case, the expression “Good grief” does not have a lot to do with the definitions of the individual words. It is simply a way of saying you are very upset about something.”
[“Wow_Bill” – Yahoo Answers]

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“What is an oxymoron, anyway? A cow that’s not so bright? In fact, the word was created from two Greek words. Oxys means sharp, and moros means dull. Together, the two words mean “a sharp dullness” or a “wise foolishness.”

The silly, befuddled meaning of the words sums up exactly what an oxymoron is. It is a phrase made up of words that have opposite meanings. “Good grief!” you might think. “Doesn’t that make the phrase meaningless? Usually, it makes the phrase funny. (By the way, every time you or Charlie Brown say “Good grief!” you are using an oxymoron!).”
[Toni Lee Robinson – EdHelper.com].

====

“In Norway, Charlie Brown says, ‘uff da!’ instead of ‘Good grief!’ It is an analogue of such words in other languages as ‘oy vey’ or ‘carumba.’”
[Roger M. Grace – Norwegian American Homepage]

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OTHER SCRIPTURES RELATING TO “GRIEF”

“The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears from all faces.”
[Isaiah 25:8]

“They will enter into Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.”
[Isaiah 35:10]

“Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” [Isaiah 41:10]

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, Nor will the flame burn you.”
[Isaiah 43:2]

“Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows.”
[Isaiah 53:4]

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil; for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me.”
[Psalm 23:4]

“You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing to you and not be silent.”
[Psalm 30:11-12].

“The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”
[Psalm 34:18]

“Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.”
[Psalm 43:5]

“This is my comfort in my affliction, That Thy word has revived me.”
[Psalm 119:50]

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”
[Psalm 147:3]

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.”
[Matthew 11:28]

“By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
[John 13:35]

“I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy.”
[John 16:20]

“So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.”
[John 16:22]

“Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh.”
[Luke 6:21]

“The Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.”
[Romans 8:26]

“Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.”
[Romans 12:15]

“For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living.”
[Romans 14:9]

“Then the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”
[1 Corinthians 15:54]

“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”
[Galatians 6:2]

“Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.”
[1 Thessalonians 4:13-14]

“In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”
[1 Peter 1:6-9]

“He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain , for the old order of things has passed away.”
[Revelation 21:4]

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THEY SHALL BE COMFORTED
“Happy are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted” [Matthew 5:4].

“Jesus may have meant, “Happy are those who mourn,” personally. But he may have meant it socially: “Happy are those who mourn for the sorrows of others.” Vicarious suffering is at the same time the most pitiful and beautiful of all.

A little girl whose mother sent her to the store for a loaf of bread was gone a long time. When she finally got home her mother asked why she was late. She explained that a friend of hers down the street had broken her doll and that she had to help her. “Help her?” her mother asked. “What could you do?”

She said, “I sat down and helped her cry.”

Blessed are those who know how to sit down and help someone cry. Happy are those who mourn for the sorrow of others.

Vicarious suffering is knitted into the very fabric of life. The human race would be poorer if it were not. Oh the pain sometimes becomes so intense that we cry out, “I wish I didn’t care.” But in our quieter moments we are very glad we do. Blessed are those who mourn for others for they shall be comforted.

Forget the ache your own heart holds
By easing other’s pain;
Forget your hungering for wealth
By seeking other’s gain;
And make your life much briefer seem
By brightening up the years—
For tears dry quicker in the eyes
That look for other’s tears.
[Author unknown]

God comforts you not to make you comfortable, but to make you a comforter. The apostle Paul writes, “The God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God” [2 Corinthians 1:4]. Christian faith is not a happiness pill, but a relationship with God that affects everyone else you touch.”
[Douglas Beyer]

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NOT A FAN
This movie follows the journey of Eric Nelson, a man leading a compartmentalized triple life as a pleasure-seeking rebel, a cutthroat corporate executive, and a nominal Christian. But when confronted with a near death experience, Eric embarks on a spiritual journey that transforms his commitment to Jesus Christ and tests the faith of his friends and family.

MOVIE TRAILER:

MORE INFO:
http://www.notafan.com/

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DEEP THOUGHT(s):

“Friendship improves happiness and abates misery, by the doubling of our joy and the dividing of our grief.”
[Marcus Tullius Cicero]

“Grief is the agony of an instant. The indulgence of grief the blunder of a life.”
[Benjamin Disraeli]

“To weep is to make less the depth of grief.”
[William Shakespeare]

“The darker the night, the brighter the stars,
The deeper the grief, the closer is God!”
[Fyodor Dostoyevsky]

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Hope you enjoyed some of these insights—share them with your friends and colleagues—so we can have a larger ‘pool’ to receive from, and more to share with! Also, remember to include your name as the “source,” if some of this wisdom is of your doing—I would like to give credit where credit is due!

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”
[Matthew 5:4].

Mark

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Disclaimer: All the above jokes & inspirations are obtained from various sources and copyright are used when known. Other than our name and headers, we do not own the copyright to any of the materials sent to this list. We just want to spread the ministry of God’s love and cheerfulness throughout the world.

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