Loss and Sympathetic Grief

Loss and Sympathetic Grief

A friend of mine tragically lost her four-year-old niece a few days ago. When I first learned of the calamity, my heart sunk, grief rose, and tears flowed. No four-year-old should die.

I have never met the parents of this precious child, but as I processed the information and my emotions started to surge, I thought, “I wish there were some way I could transfer some of this young mother’s anguish to myself, to siphon some of the heartache.” If only hearing of the death of this beautiful girl moves me so profoundly, how extensive is the pain and sorrow of her parents and grandparents and aunts and uncles?

full of grief

Yes, I wish pain, grief, and sorrow could be measured like we measure water. And when it was on the brink of overflowing, it could be poured into someone else; thereby reducing the amount of distress felt by the original sufferer.

pouring water

I desperately want to help and at the same time recognize there is not a thing I can do (physically) to ease the discomfort, the agony.

Pain and grief are a part of life. No one can walk through it for someone else. That leaves those of us watching at a loss, feeling inadequate and ill-equipped (which probably explains why I skip out on most funeral services).

I believe God created me with an “extra-sensitive” feelings button. I easily “rejoice with those who rejoice” and “mourn with those who mourn” (Rom. 12:15). But the mourning feels unproductive and “less than.” If I had a measuring cup that magically reduced the hurting person’s misery by the amount of pain I feel for him/her, I could bear it easier.

shared grielf

But while I own no magic measuring cup, I know of One who can bear the pain—One who has borne the pain. Jesus is a “Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief” (Is. 53:12).

My sympathetic grief need not be fruitless because I have access to the One with the answers. I have a direct line to the One who heals. I can throw myself at the throne of grace and ask for mercy to be poured out on the victim of grief. I can ask God to be the Vessel in which they pour their aches and pain. I can hope God’s healing will eventually come. I can rest in the promise that His complete healing will eventually come to those in Christ.

This is my prayer for this young couple and family still reeling in shock.

This is my prayer for those of you suffering from loss or unbearable pain.


Top 10 Posts of 2013 + A Bonus


I have enjoyed writing this blog for the past year, and it has been interesting to note which posts are most read. I certainly entertained some giggles observing how many hits the PMS posts received, especially the one written for men.

I appreciate all who have meandered through these pages and those that have become loyal readers. Thanks for being my friends in the midst of life.

Bonus: Before I list the top 10 most popular blog posts, I want to list my favorite 3. These meant the most to me as I wrote them, and I think they most represent the heart of this blog’s purpose. (To read the post, put your cursor over the title & click.)

And here are the Top 10 Posts of 2013:

  1. Cleaning House – Book Review
  2. 10 Things You Should Know About PMS (for Men)
  3. 10 Things You Should Know About PMS (for Women)
  4. A Good Friend is Dying
  5. Greek Gods: Not So Ancient
  6. Apple Cutting Lesson
  7. God Speaks
  8. Toothaches, Root Canals, and Skewed Reality
  9. How Do You Eat An Elephant?
  10. On Ants and Diarrhea

As always, I would love to hear from you! In the comment section, list the blogs or posts (from this blog or any other) you most enjoyed reading this past year. If you are a blogger, list your most popular or favorite post from your blogsite.

Happy New Year! May you experience the Lord’s presence in the upcoming year more than you have in the past!