Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. Psalm 42:5, NIV
Several years ago, my friend Ashley nicknamed me "The Boss of Loss." I was sitting across from a couple of my friends in a booth at Panera soothing myself with hot coffee and scones as I worked through the loss of my fertility. As I tried to put words to my pain, she perceptively noticed a pattern. For a short life of only 30 years, I'd experienced a good amount of loss.
The loss of my health due to cancer and my family due to divorce were the biggies, but the jobs I'd left, friendships that dissolved and friends who passed away had put me face to face with many goodbyes.
I knew each time something ended, it was hard on me... and getting harder. But what I couldn't find were the right words to articulate how I felt. Thanks to listening ears of many friends and mentors who let my jumbled mess of random sentences ebb and flow, I finally began to realize the feelings birthed from loss were called sadness, sorrow and grief.
Like anger, sadness is one of the emotions we often try to push away. It's easier to say "I'm fine" than to tell the truth - "I'm sad." Most of our families, churches and communities didn't teach us or give us permission to express our sadness to one another - or even to ourselves. We often equate sadness with weakness and a lack of boldness and grit. But God's Word offers us another way.
King David's words in Psalms and Hannah's heartfelt plea in 1 Samuel are two good examples of people talking to God from a place of loss. All throughout the Bible, we meet people who are weeping, crying and expressing deep grief. Jesus himself faced deep sorrow to the point of death. To be human is to face loss at some point.
None of us like feeling sad or facing grief, but the God of comfort will help us when we do. Even in those most sensitive places where our hearts feel ripped out, a "Boss of Loss" can meet the Prince of Peace.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, I hate loss - I know you do too. That's why you experienced it - so we can hope in a life that never ends. Help comfort me until that day when all loss, last days, closures and goodbyes are gone. Give me strength to find the words to invite you into my sadness.