Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted (v. 4).
For the past few years, I have worked as a hospice chaplain. Every day I sit with families and individuals as they attempt to travel the road of remembrance, loss, and grief.
Grief is something we feel and experience. While loss happens to us, mourning is an action that we allow ourselves to do in order to process a loss. Mourning is not passive. Mourning is a messy, tangled web of a journey. It is through this journey of truly embracing and processing loss that we are able to find comfort and meaning.
Death is not the only thing we need to mourn. We mourn relationships. We mourn lost opportunities. We mourn lost homes and loss of faith. We mourn our youth. We mourn what was that will never be again.
Our grief comes in waves at the most unexpected moments. A poignant dream about a lost love occurs years after the break-up. A parent finds a handprint drawing from a toddler whose adult life took a much different trajectory than those sweet little fingers suggested. An adult holds the favorite coffee mug of a parent who can no longer remember them. A box of old photos, the smell of perfume, the taste of a special recipe—all bring a smile, a memory, or a story to mind.
Any of these circumstances can send us into the throws of grief. Hearing Jesus bless those who mourn reminds us that this grief is not only okay, it is good. Fully experiencing moments of mourning and memory brings comfort.
When have I experienced loss? How have I mourned this loss?
God, you are present with us in our joy and in our sorrow. Help us recognize and mourn our losses. Teach us to find comfort in your presence. Amen.