I've been thinking about it a lot this year, having experienced it for the first time. Not that I had never been sad before--there were sad things before this year--but this was a year of death.
Not of people, not in my life. Not yet. But the death of dreams, the death of friendships, the death of a part of me.
It has been almost a year now since the starting of all this... yet it is still so deeply grievous that it can all come to the surface suddenly and I'm crying without warning.
I had no idea, before, of how long the grieving process is. And I haven't even had someone close die yet. I can't--don't want to--imagine.
My own grief has made me much more sensitive to others who are grieving.
It has also made me wonder. How is it possible that in 6,000 years of people dying, moving away, hurting each other, and so on, we still are terrible at grieving and comforting others who grieve? How is it that it is not a natural thing--it is something that must be learned to be done well?
I think I figured it out, though. It's because it is all just plain wrong.
People aren't supposed to die. Friendships are not supposed to end. People are not supposed to sin and hurt each other.
It's all wrong. This isn't how God designed us. This isn't the way it started out.
And we are still not used to it. Even though the fall happened so very long ago, we still struggle and flounder as a result of its effects.
(This is one of many reasons why evolution just makes no sense to me. If it were true, grief would be perfectly normal--in fact, maybe we wouldn't even be sad over someone's death. Survival of the fittest, right? Yay for me, I lived longer! :P)
Yet, in the beautiful way that God is, He has turned suffering into something for our good. Glorious, isn't it? That something so hard, so trying, so wrong can be used for good?
16For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.
17For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;
18While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
The other thing that has comforted me indescribably during my hard days has been the fact that Jesus Himself suffered. If He had not--if He was just up there telling us suffering is good for us--oh, what a hard directive that would be to obey. And how unjust it would seem. But He did. And when we suffer we get a taste, a share, in His sufferings. Amazing!
9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone.
10 For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. Hebrews 2:9-10
3 He is despised and rejected by men,
A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.
And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him;
He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.
4 Surely He has borne our griefs
And carried our sorrows;
Yet we esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten by God, and afflicted.
Thank God.5 But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed. Isaiah 53:3-5