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Saturday, 20 June 2020 13:48

Grief, Time and the Holy Spirit

2020.22.Grieve Parade.AU


Exploring areas here in Canberra these past months has been part of this exciting, new Godventure I call transition. Funnily enough, in my walks, in driving around- I always get lost. I have been reflecting on a particular experience when I got lost, and looking up to check the street name I read where I was - Grieve Place. I read it again, and then it struck me. God wanted to speak to me about something and this was where the Holy Spirit led my feet.

The world is certainly experiencing an overwhelming volume of loss. It has all been piling up. How do we cope in our first experience of dealing with multiple pandemic-specific losses?

Let’s attempt to be brave and face our losses together. 

Let’s grieve for that loss of time and experience and the way it was suddenly taken from us. For that milestone, much-awaited life event that got cancelled. Let’s grieve for the changes in our relationships. For the need to disengage, for being unable to hug or hold and visit indefinitely.  Let’s grieve for that job, that business lost, that special dream trip refunded. Let’s grieve for that loss of freedom, not being able to do the usual things, all the delayed plans and all of life’s uncertainties. 

All of these are valid losses. They are certainly not the same as the deaths around the world but all of them and deserve to be acknowledged. Suddenly by naming it, we can somehow normalise and face it.

Grief is that creeping, gripping, crippling multi-tasking emotion that you wish you can just shut down like a computer but no, no, no. It is that emotion that shouts to you, “Face me!” and you reply to it, “I didn’t even know you were there.” There is no specific emoji for it, simply because we can’t put just one face to it as there’s so many emotions involved.

So since that day at Grieve Place, I’ve been praying for the grace of courage because the challenge to face this grief was something I could no longer ignore. But God who I know is a God of compassion, and hope is offering a one-of-a-kind gift by bringing me there. Its to face this grief with Him. I remember something my Dad would always say to me, “Don’t move on, move forward, anak.” (my child). I take this advice daily and move forward with my Father God. Grief with God allows space for Him to heal us. As I looked up on the street name again, I realised that God was naming this underground feeling for me. Something I couldn’t do myself. 

Uhm....So hello again, Grief. We have met before but now I know what I need. Time. Here’s how I’ve been using this invaluable (priceless?) gift at Grieve Place:

1.  Time with God - Cry your heart out to God. Give it all to Him in prayer. Be creative. Draw it, write a song, a poem or dance it out. Everything we give to God is never wasted. If we let Him, He will transform our pain and transform us into a different person. Who and what we lost are irreplaceable, but God’s gifts in the experience of loss promises us new opportunities, growth and everything we lost will come back to us transformed and in abundance too

  1. Time with yourself - Grief drains you and can be very exhausting. Now is the best time to look closely at what is happening within. Find time to exercise, force yourself to eat healthy, and try to learn new skills, something you enjoy doing. As you strengthen your body and mind, you will find you are also stronger to face anything!
  1. Time with family & trusted friends - Praise the Lord for technology that can connect us anytime, anywhere! I found support through virtual reunions and online coffee chats. You are not alone in this. Please ring and talk to someone who can be a source of peace in this chaos and speak wisdom in your life.
  1. Time to renew relationships and build new ones - Reach out. What you are experiencing is important and need to be heard. Perhaps there are also people in your life who need support? In our own darkness we can be a friend to someone in need too and start new life-giving, encouraging friendships 
  1. Time to get to know your Saint or find a Saint (if you don’t have one already) - We all need companions in this journey. We need prayer warriors too! Your saint is your spiritual companion, call out to him or her to pray for you. Saints have very inspiring and uplifting stories of their own losses and how their faith helped them. Alternatively, there are so many living saints out there who you can share the load with. We call them counsellors, medical professionals and front-liners who will listen and talk you through this. 

Do you think grief has to have an expiry date? I say just allow ourselves to feel and go through the process. Go gently. I go back to Grieve Place regularly and spend time praying for my own personal losses. I had no time to do this when I was really busy so contemplating on them recently is allowing deep healing and I know someday I’ll be grateful for facing this time.

May I also suggest to use this time to get to know the Holy Spirit more? He has used walks and music to help me. In my experiences of loss, I have also experienced God never leaving my side. I cry out to him through music, never stopping to thank and praise him, even in difficult times. He replies with a song too, and I want to share these songs with you. Allow the Great Comforter, the Spirit who offers a balm of healing, to lovingly remind us through the lyrics of these songs not to be consumed by grief. 

Our Song of Praise: Even When It Hurts, Hillsong UNITED  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hrSJwO5dJXg  

Holy Spirit's Reply: Beyond Words, Tenth Avenue North) https://youtu.be/wMQs_b5KBGM

Come, Holy Spirit!  As you listen to these songs, I pray restoration for you. May you be filled with the Spirit of Love and be enveloped in his embrace of inner Peace. Only God can fill and replace those aching, empty spaces in our hearts. I am confident that God will turn our mourning into dancing. His timing is perfect. His love for us is beyond words.

Angela Uybarreta