Facing Sorrow and Pain; Finding Healing


grievingMy son quizzed me about a recent flurry of “unfriending” on facebook that had to do with an ended relationship. Although he had nothing directly to do with the relationship, just because he was a friend of the “ex”, he was “unfriended”.  Several others, including myself, had been “unfriended” after this relationship ended.

It was obvious that this individual had quickly moved to eradicate all evidence of the painful end of her relationship.

Oh, that it were that easy to erase pain! Just one click of a button, an “unfriending” or two, and viola!, the pain is gone!  (or at least all the reminders of the pain is gone. ) We all know that doesn’t really work. I know because I’ve tried it many times.  While we may be able to get our pain out of sight initially, that living entity is going to eventually come kicking and screaming out of its grave for things buried alive are, well, still alive!

Every life has its own measure of sorrow and pain. It’s easy to want to move away from the pain, erase it, refuse to mention it or acknowledge it, but a life lived fully must face pain and suffering and feel it in order to ultimately find healing.

Understandably we are afraid of pain, whether emotional or physical. Certainly a world in perfection, as it was in the beginning and will be again in the end, is a world without pain. Yet in our current reality, pain is a part of life and while we desperately want to believe that there must be a way around experiencing our own pain, avoiding our sorrows also means losing part of the fullness of life.

Refusing to feel the depths of our pain and suffering causes our hearts to become more walled off, closed, harder, and the very things we long for – intimacy and relationship, become more limited in our lives. We can’t shut off our pain without also shutting off a part of our heart. Feeling the depths of pain opens us up to also feel the depths of joy.

In a small measure, I felt the aforementioned woman’s sorrow. I sensed her anger, her emotional pain and while in one way, I would prefer to not think about her and her pain, another part of my heart understands that loving well means that I allow the sorrows of the world to break my heart.

Grieving loss fully is a necessary part of the healing process. Anything else is denial.

A teenage girl I know recently experienced death in her family. A month later, her young friends were struggling to help her and had encouraged her that she should not be sad, that she didn’t need to think about it, she just needed to go on. While they meant well, their words were causing this young girl to feel guilty, conflicted over the tension of her very real heartache and a belief that says one should just suck it up, be strong, and move on when life is unfair.

I reminded her that Jesus wept over Lazarus death. The original language of the scripture means, “He burst into tears.” Not a very dignified response, huh?  Oh, but what a very real expression of the depths of his pain!

Ecclesiastes 3 tells us that there is both a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to grieve and a time to dance, but after a loss, the weeping and the grieving precede the laughing and the dancing.

While we often try to skip over the grief and pain and go directly to the healing, there is no way out except through. We must walk through the valley.

Pain and loss not fully grieved eats away at our emotional and spiritual health. We can try to bury it with work, busyness, drugs, alcohol, television, physical activity, spending, sex, etc. but eventually we find that it doesn’t work. The inner pain demands to be heard and felt and grieved before our hearts can be healed.

When we learn to face our pain and sorrow through God’s grace and truth, we find wholeness and the strength to live fully and compassionately in the world.  

And so I pose these questions…

When is the last time you wept over someone else’s sorrow?

When is the last time you had compassion on your own heart and wept over your own sorrow?

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  1. Oh, I wish pain were that easy to erase, too! But so much good often does come out of our painful experiences that would not be gained if the experience were simply erased.

    Isn’t the whole fb thing an incredible phenomenon today? Affects younger people in a different way than most of us older (I’m in my 50s) folks. But I’ve even seen some older ones get lost in the fb world. And that sets up a whole new slate of pain.

  2. Song says:

    Good post, Mikki. I think I’ve heard this from you a few times before, too! 😛

  3. Hi Mikki,
    Thank you for you post. It has blessed me. I have passed it on to about 14 women that I am leading through The Wounded Heart study by Dan Allender. I know it will bless them and reinerate what we have been studying in the last few weeks. Many Blessings to you and look forward to reading more in the future.

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