The Fellowship of Grief & Hope

Grief and hope are supporting partners, each allowing the other to exist in authenticity. This is the first of two blog posts in a two-week grief series. Thank you, as always, to The Glorious Table for the privilege of writing for you. See the preview below or link here for the full post.

The other day, a friend sent me a meme depicting two people on a track. The person in the back is running at full speed, quickly gaining on the other. This sprinter is labeled “Beginning of 2022.” The person he’s about to catch is labeled “Me Still Trying to Process 2020.”

Now, if that’s not the truth in one picture, I don’t know what is. How can it possibly be almost 2022 when we’re still trying to get our heads wrapped around all that’s happened during the past two years?

The journey through this time has been like nothing else I’ve experienced — like nothing any of us has ever experienced. The global scale of human loss, financial devastation, impact on mental health, racial reckoning, and political polarization has been hard to watch on our news feeds. The way each of these things has manifested in so many lives has been difficult, if not devastating.

Additionally, the ongoing stress of these past two years has made “normal” challenges so much more so. We experienced a few normal stressors like moving, sending my youngest off to kindergarten, and the loss of a few distant loved ones. These are common events, but I could sense that my usual bandwidth for coping was much narrower because of the ongoing toll of the pandemic.

The Fellowship of Hope and Grief

And yet, even in the midst of this time of difficulty, a familiar hope has buoyed us, because that’s what it’s designed to do.

In contrast to how strange and uncommon the pandemic has been, the way hope has shown up these past two years has been remarkably familiar. Rather than being unusual and otherworldly, it has been common, and it had shown up in much the same way hope has shown up for generations of people when they encountered difficulties. Hope is not “unprecedented.” Hope is the consistent thing God has always used to help his people in difficulty, through himself and one another.

As we move toward wrapping up another year of this strange era, I wanted to reflect on a few of my favorite examples where grief and hope have joined hands in fellowship, buoying the people of God during a strange time with hope familiar.

When Grief and Hope Go Together

Jesus in the Garden: As a person of faith and a mental health therapist, the example of Jesus in the garden is central to the teaching that grief and hope can exist in the same space. In the deepest personal and existential pain anyone has ever faced, Jesus turned to his Father. The Source of hope turned to the Creator of hope in order to persevere, ultimately allowing him to give us the greatest gift humanity has ever known.

For additional examples and to finish the full post link here.

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