There may (or may not) be steps or stages you take as you experience it. It really looks different for each one of us.
It can be easy to try to resist it. Or are least not know what to do with it.
There are times of mourning. Even seasons of deep grief. And . . . there is a grief that is also part of our everday experience of being human and living in a world like ours. "A world that is both good and cruel," as Tish Warren puts it in her new, timely book, Prayer in the Night. (I highly commend her book to you)
We all bear pain and loss, disappointments, painful memories that haunt us, and so many pangs of sorrow that we carry in our hearts every day, in one way or another.
Sometimes we can think of grief as a task to complete - can we just "do this" and move on? Often we just don't want to feel sad. And, perhaps, we look for so many things to fill our time so we might avoid it. But this isn't how grief works. It stays with us - if we don't make time for it, it will not simply disappear. Tish writes, "Grief is stubborn. It will make itself heard or we will die trying to silence it." We journey through life making space for it in our lives.
And - as Tish soberbly puts it - "feeing sadness is the cost of being emotionally alive. It's the cost, even, of holiness." She goes on to describe how we see it in Jesus, don't we? God took time to grieve. He was no stranger to the weight of heartbreak and sorrow, to the ache of swollen eyes that have run out of tears. He did not downplay the losses or look for ways to try to numb the pain. He resisted pat answers and shows us what it looks like to be a human who is fully alive emotionally.
Been pondering her words. Especially these words with which she closes her chapter on "Those Who Weep." It's a stunning, imaginative reading of a familiar passage of Scripture. I well up with tears each time I read it. I leave it with you for your own encouragement -
"The end of the Bible turns to the end of time, and John describes a breathtaking moment when God will wipe every tear from his people's eyes (Revelation 21:4). . . .
. . . The image of God wiping away our tears could of course be a metaphor - a statement that all things will, at last, be well. But what if it's not strictly poetic language? What if, in the face of our Maker, we get one last chance to honor all the losses this life has brought? What if we can stand before God someday and hear our life stories, told for the first time accurately and in their entirety, with all the twists and turns and meaning we couldn't follow when we lived through them? What if the story includes all the darkness of suffering, all the wounds we've received and given to others, all the horror of captial-D Death, and we got to weep one last time with God himself? What if before we begin to live in a world where all things are made new, we weep with the One who alone is able to permanently wipe away our tears?"
I can't stop thinking about what it will be like to weep one final time with God himself and have him personally, and permanently, wipe all those final tears away.