“Let’s talk about grief” – those were the words next to the Time Magazine cover photo of Sheryl Sandberg. She was on vacation with her husband and suddenly, he was gone. The article says: “She was thrust against something unfamiliar: an outcome she couldn’t change.” Sandberg moved through the shocking reality of death; now “she wants to help others find a way through grief.”
Have you noticed how often we post photos on Facebook of a delicious meal, selfies with friends at some joyful gathering, or those cute, precocious quotes from our kids? Just how accurate are those snapshots? How true are they to the realities of our lives – the economic uncertainties, the struggles with relationships, the tears of loneliness we cry when no one is watching?
Patrick Miller writes: “The lament or complaint psalms in the Psalter and elsewhere in the Old Testament have been the subject of even more attention than the psalms of praise.” It’s not that joy and celebration are not integral and frequent parts of life; it’s that we are far less inclined to cover up joy than to publicly acknowledge our feelings of vulnerability or the realities of our sadness. How much mental illness is the result of suppressed depressions? Are we equipped to deal with our own grief, to say nothing of being present with others in their own tears?
“My drink is mingled with tears,” writes the Psalmist (Psalm 102:9). Our scriptures teach us an important lesson: no matter how reticent you are to talk with others about your struggles, you can always be honest with God.
A blessed Tuesday.