“Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep”
-Romans 12:15 (ESV)
This verse may be one of the most quoted verses in the Bible. However, how many people truly take into consideration what this means and implies? Isn’t it much easier to be jealous of someone when they are rejoicing and happy? Isn’t it natural to be jealous when a friend gets that job they’ve always dreamed of and your still working at a job you hate?
Similarly, isn’t it rather easy to distance oneself from a friend who has lost their cousin to a sudden heart attack? Paul tells us that while these may be our natural methods in which we deal with such situations, it certainly is NOT the right way we, as the body of Christ, should be dealing with such matters! Paul tells us to be happy and rejoice with our brothers and sisters in Christ when God blesses their life in a special way! We are to celebrate with them and along side of them, because we are a family and families should celebrate together!
The same is true for when a brother or sister is grieving a painful loss, whether it be the loss of a parent or the loss of job or the death of a dream! We are to go to them and spend time with them. Often times we don’t need to say anything, just simply showing up at the funeral or taking a meal over to our friend is more than enough. I have also found that it is sometimes better to let the person talk and that I simply listen and give them a hug.
One of my favorite movie’s that illustrates the concept of community rallying around a hurting person is Cameron Crowe’s (“Jerry Maguire”) 2005 masterpiece “Elizabethtown.” This film tells the story of a young man whose father dies suddenly while visiting relatives in a small Kentucky town. The young man (Will) is asked by his family to fly into the small town to help and make funeral arrangements. When Will arrives in Elizabethtown, Kentucky he is met by relatives and family friends whom he hasn’t seen in years, but all whom loved his father and want nothing more than to grieve with him. They hug, tell stories and reminisce about what a great man Will’s father was. Will also receives compassion from strangers and people he doesn’t know, including Claire a young flight attendant who he met on the flight from Oregon to Kentucky. Claire views life in a unique and positive light, which aides Will tremendously as he mourns the loss of his father.
Another part about the grieving process that is so important is knowing that God wants us to take life a day at a time. We experience so many emotions throughout the process that it can be very overwhelming. However, Jesus taught us in Matthew 6:34 “don’t worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today” (NLT). Therefore, I don’t believe God expects us to try to tackle everything we are feeling in times of grief at once, but instead allow Him to help us through each day, one day at a time. In many ways Claire does this for Will, by encouraging him to take every emotion in and ‘experience the incredible melancholy’ that life sometimes throws at us.
I recently was blessed by both of these concepts in my own personal life. Back in April, my Grandmother passed away after a six-year battle with Alzheimer’s disease. When it came time for the funeral, many of my friends completely surprised me and stopped by, just to give me a hug, and say that they were sorry for my loss. This meant so much to me, as just a simple a thing as showing up richly blessed me, and reminded me that God loves me, and has blessed me with friend who love me as well!
I also have learned that grieving needs to be taken a day at a time. Some days it is harder than others, and there is often no rhyme or reason to why I suddenly feel angry at one moment or sad at another. However, I have been able to claim Matthew 6:24 that I will not worry about tomorrow because my Heavenly Father is taking care of me, and no matter what I am feeling, He understands.