Monday, September 22, 2008

How Are Joe and Karen Doing?

Instead of me trying to explain how they are doing... I thought I would re-post here something that Greg Laurie wrote on his blog about "how are they doing" as they grieve for the lost of their son. Read below, and for more, please go to Greg Laurie's Blog.

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One thing often asked of someone when they have had someone close to them die is “How are you doing?” Please know that is the hardest question to answer.

Can I just answer for all people who are grieving a recent loss right now? Not very well.

Please don’t hold that against us. It’s just that we are missing that person badly. We are very, very sad.

We have moments of peace, even joy, but more moments of sadness. We are suffering, yet learning. Grieving, yet rejoicing. Mourning and occasionally laughing. But a good part of the time, we are sad.

It hits us really hard when we are not expecting it. Little landmines we step on, filled with memories.

So, if you happen to catch us at such a moment and ask, “How are you doing?,” you may not like what you see and hear.

God is with us

But know this–God is with us. There is even a blessedness in mourning.

Jesus said, “Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.” But it is mourning, which includes deep sadness, tears, and pain.

Somewhere, we have gotten the idea that sadness and mourning are to be immediately replaced by happiness and celebration. I think in time they will be, but there will always be a hole in the life of a person who has lost a loved one.

The Bible says there is “A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance. A time to tear and a time to mend. A time to be quiet and a time to speak” (Ecclesiastes 3:4,7 NLT). After Stephen was martyred, “Some godly people came and buried Stephen with loud weeping” (Acts 8:2 NLT emphasis mine).

We won’t “get over it”

There is a lot of weeping when a loved one has died, especially if it was unexpected. They simply will not “get over it.”

When a person has been a part of your life, like our son Christopher was for us for 33 years, you don’t just “edit” them out of the script. You notice that empty chair at the table. They are still so much a part of you, yet they are just gone.

That is very hard to comprehend.

A better thing to say

So, instead of asking “How are you doing?,” maybe you’re better off just saying, “I am sorry for your loss,and I am praying for you!” Or smile and say, “Love you!”

The person may want to talk about it, and if they do, listen, don’t talk. Job’s counselors had that right. It’s when they started talking that the problems began.

You see, when you are mourning, you are vulnerable. The armor is down, and you are sensitive to the right and wrong things being said. You can be easily hurt and, at the same time, helped by what people say and do.

So only speak if you are sure you have the right words from the Lord to give to someone who is grieving. The Bible says, “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver” (Proverbs 25:11 NKJV).

But do say something!

Having said that you should not say the wrong thing, do say something! The only thing more painful than having said the wrong thing is saying nothing.

I know you might be afraid the person will cry if you mention their loved one. But they might resent it if you don’t.

Crying is not necessarily a bad thing anyway. There can be tears of joy.

You need to know that when people are grieving, they are “not themselves.” You don’t know how you will react to things, and thus people do not know what to say.

If someone tells me a story about my son, or shares a memory, I like to hear that. I have been getting a crash course in this, so it’s all very fresh to me. I have lost my grandparents and my mom, and as hard as those were, nothing is like this.

So please be patient with mourning people. Give them time. Don’t forget to keep praying for them. Store these thoughts up in your mind, like a squirrel would store up nuts for the winter. Because someday you may need to know them for yourself.

by Greg Laurie
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2 comments:

Liza's Eyeview said...

No comment on this eh? :) :) - that's ok. I know many have read and are touched.

The more I stand by your side in this time of grief, the more I realize the need of the church to "teach and apply" the importance of tenderly understanding and loving the members of the body who are grieving.... Hope Chapel is doing well, but there's always rom to grow...

Someday, the two of you will be used by God to teach us... in His time. For now, go with the flow and continue to trust God, as you are doing, that one day soon all of us will be in heaven - no more tears, no more sadness, we'll be with our loved ones...FOREVER!

Anonymous said...

The question "How are Joe and Karen Doing" can also be turned around to, how are we doing who grieve for the Johnsons, JoAnne and Jamie?
We ache for you, not always knowing how we can ease your tremendous pain or find ways to comfort you. We do wonder what to say at times and stumble over our words in attempts to comfort you because we love you so much. We somehow want to make your pain go away or not have you go through it at all but we can't. We can't do anything to prevent those quiet times you have with yourself remembering Joey and missing him as you do. We try to imagine the heartache you are experiencing but you alone have the corner on that. It's sad and frustrating for us when there's nothing we can do to hold back your tears and yet we can weep with you, we can continue to pray for you. We can continue to let you know we care. We can smile a smile of love and comfort to you. We can give you a hug. We can still offer to help you in anyway, bringing in a meal, asking you to dinner, wash your car, clean your house, bring some groceries, even though it's been four months. Whoever said there was a specific date when you return to functioning normal, or that after four months you shouldn't need anymore support, that on certain days you don't need a little extra support and comfort to help get you through another day?
We can tell you how much we love you and that we're here for you. And most of all we can tell you we will never forget your precious dear son Joey.
That's how we are doing.

A friend....