Working Through Pain, Grief and Loss

Recently, Linda and I received news that a dear friend and mentor of ours had suddenly and tragically passed away. We were devastated and heartbroken…hurting for his wife and son, hurting for those influenced by his life, and grieving for our personal loss. He made a lifelong imprint on both Linda and myself as people and professionals. We did not choose this experience, we were chosen to share in this experience of grief, pain and suffering. In moments like these, you do not choose to be in pain, you just are. In moments like these, you do not choose to help, you just do. In moments like these, you do not choose to be human, you just are.

When life becomes difficult – whether through challenges and obstacles or pain and suffering – our choice will be to remain and rest in the mystery of these moments. To embrace an attitude of listening and learning. To permit time the opportunity to restore and strengthen us. To allow expectations to melt away… and to be present to yourself and one another.

In our being chosen or in our choosing, be near to one another through life’s unexpected surprises. Don’t overthink your response. Be available. There is more of you to give than you could ever imagine.

No matter who we are or what we are living for, life will choose us for pain and suffering. As those who will experience this firsthand. Or as those who serve and support others in need. We share in these experiences of pain and suffering together, we do not over think our role, we just selflessly help one another. It is this availability and willingness to be alongside one another through whatever life throws at us that deepens our understanding of who we are as people and what we can share through brokenness as a community.

  • How has pain, suffering and loss shaped you?
  • When have you come alongside those is deep need?
  • Who has comforted you in your loss?
  • What has been the lasting imprint of this experience of your relationships?

Those who are suffering – those in pain or hardship, the diseased and the dying – are experiencing the life they have been graced to live. They did not choose this for themselves, they were chosen for it. Those who serve, help and care for these are sharing the abundance of their life for the benefit of those in need. We sacrifice for others because we are human, and in relationship with one another. We too did not choose to be near this life experience, but we do have a choice in how we will help.

In our being chosen or in our choosing, be near to one another through life’s unexpected surprises. Don’t overthink your response. Be available. There is more of you to give than you could ever imagine.

For there is something within suffering, disease and death that is our greatest unifier – a moment of coming together, sharing with one another, healing one another. Those who are close just respond, there is no need to think into it, you just live into the moment of pain and loss. It is this instinctive responsiveness that we carry within us each and every day. So now I ask, “How can we be more aware and available to those in need, each and every day?” We are each uniquely gifted to meet and share in the suffering of others and those in need.

No matter who we are, no matter our life circumstance, no matter our social or racial background, we are here for one another. We are built to help one another, to share in life’s pain. This is an instinct of our humanity and we really do not need to think too much into it. When we respond to those in need, we are not just stepping out of our comfort zone, but we are moving into a deeper expression of ourselves. And when we suffer the pain of life’s loss, openly and honestly, we provide an opportunity for others to serve and be more of who they are intended to be.

In our being chosen or in our choosing, be near to one another through life’s unexpected surprises. Don’t overthink your response. Be available. There is more of you to give than you could ever imagine.

Using Strengths to Serve

It feels awkward inserting something about Strengths here, but I do need to say one thing – the most dignified application of Strengths is how we use them to serve others. Strengths are our natural, spontaneous, recurring cognitive patterns of behavior, thought, relating, motivation and serving. Follow your Strengths as they lead you to uniquely serve and sacrifice for those who are suffering.

In moments of deep pain, personal devastation and relational loss we both suffer with and help one another. We experience loss and we express help out of the depths of our being. There is no asking ourselves, “Should I feel loss right now?” We just do. There is no thinking, “Should I help?” We just do. As we embrace others in their grieving, we rest and remain with them as they heal.

Whatever life is throwing at you, be fully present and fully alive. Be mindful and aware that we at surrounded by people in need, by those who are suffering, by those who need help. Be available to help anyone, anywhere and at anytime. And be patient to listen, to care and to give of who you are to those truly in need.

There is more of you to give than you could ever imagine.

Through it all, we know it will all be well
Through it all, we will experience deep pain
Through it all, we will question and doubt
Through it all, we will not lose our passion

In the midst of life’s storms and anguish
In the midst of the winds and waves of brokenness
We will suffer with those who are suffering
We will hurt with those who are hurting
We will heal with those who are healing

Through it all, we will be there for one another
Through it all, time will strengthen us once again
Through it all, our hearts will be healed
Through it all, we know it will all be well

••• In loving memory of Randy Reese