Touchstones in our stories

By Dave Henning / May 28, 2024

“Most of us swiftly move on from things that could be touchstones in our stories, reminders that God is who He says He is, but we can find that faith only through the gift of grieving. . . .  Grieving well allows us to move on from being a squirmy child in God’s lap to becoming one quite comfortable there.”- Sara Hagerty

“Heaven knows we never need to be ashamed of our tears, for they are rain upon the blinding dust of earth, overlying our hard hearts.”- Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

In Chapter 6 (“Good Grief!  The Power of Grief to Grow Our Surrender”) of The Gift of Limitations, Sara Hagerty notes that, as a culture, we know how to manage certain kinds of loss.  And our culture sets the socially acceptable amount of time allowed for the grieving process.

Consequently, we offer quick words of advice and awkward platitudes.  Yet, our hearts often whisper, Get on with it already.  In addition, even though we speak God’s words to another in pain, Sara asserts that we often fall well short of adopting His posture.  So, we stamp pain with an expiration date.  A time when things must wrap up.

Therefore, Sara describes the fallout from skipping over grief:

“But we often skip these hard steps in the interest of the timeline of our ideals.  A lifetime of skipping makes us resentful of the limits of our humanity — limits that God often gives and allows — and resentful of the boundary of the fence line. . . .

We have built entire theologies to cover what we dare not admit: we are afraid of pain.  We do not know who He is, in our darkest hour, the hour handcrafted to touch and make new our deepest places more than anything else.  So we skip over grief.

However, Sara encourages and reminds us, not one of our losses — no matter how small — is hidden from God’s sight.  Furthermore, grief unearths our need to be held in the dark.  Most significantly, Sara stresses, God sees even our flash moments of darkness.

Today’s question: What helps us sit with the touchstones in our stories?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Minor paper cuts of life”

About the author

Dave Henning

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