Grief In The Midst Of Gratitude



I remember that first Thanksgiving after my father died.  Our family gathered 'round the table at mom's place, as we had done so many times throughout the years, but this Thanksgiving was different:  Dad's chair was empty.  As the elder son, I invited the family to bow with me in prayer, but no words flowed.  After a time of thunderous silence, tears erupted and finally, we were able to utter words of thanks.  Gratitude is often interrupted by grief.  I suppose it would be acceptable to say that such a response is common in our human struggle to cope with loss.  The problem comes when this temporary “stay” is allowed to become the norm - - gratitude is suppressed while grief rules the day.  


Someone has written, “Losing a loved one to death is overwhelming.  But facing holiday celebrations without your loved one can make things that much tougher.”  I reference this quote in the wake of a week that has proven to be deeply painful to our church family.  Early last Monday morning Shirley Davis passed away … and then early last Tuesday morning Daniel Kennedy passed away.  Our hearts ache for Don who has lost his beloved wife of 63 years and for Donna who has lost her beloved husband of 64 years.  As a church family we are “in mourning”, bidding farewell to two we all loved dearly.  Having “slipped the surly bonds of earth to touch the face of God”, we are confident that both  Shirley and Dan are at home with the Lord.  When the fog of our sorrow lifts, and it will, we will carry on:  gratitude will conquer grief.  May God strengthen us to say with faith as Job did long ago:  the Lord gave and the Lord has taken away.  BLESSED BE THE NAME OF THE LORD (Job.1:21b).    


                                                                                               Terry Siverd / Cortland Church of Christ