Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Sorrow Enlarges the Soul Until It Is Able to Mourn and Rejoice Simultaneously

One of my favorite prayer places, on Lake Erie

One of the best books I've ever read on grief is Jerry Sittser's A Grace Disguised: How the Soul Grows Through Loss. He is such an excellent writer. This is a book I want to read and do not want to read. It is a book that should be read.

Sittser writes:

"Catastrophic loss by definition precludes recovery. It will transform us or destroy us, but it will never leave us the same. There is no going back to the past, which is gone forever, only going ahead to the future, which has yet to be discovered. Whatever that future is, it will, and must, include the pain of the past with it. Sorrow never entirely leaves the soul of those who have suffered a severe loss. If anything, it may keep going deeper."


Therefore, never tell a person who has suffered catastrophic loss that "One day you'll get over this." Someone who says that just does not understand.

"This depth of sorrow is the sign of a healthy soul, not a sick soul. It does not have to be morbid or fatalistic. it is not something to escape but something to embrace."


Actually, it will embrace you and clutch on to you so that any sense of escape is only illusory, as you run away with sorrow wrapping its arms around your soul.

It is good and healthy to feel sorrow. To mourn. Jesus said, "Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted." Sittser writes:

"Sorrow indicates that people who have suffered loss are living authentically in a world of misery, and it expresses the emotional anguish of people who feel pain for themselves or for others. Sorrow is noble and gracious. It enlarges the soul until the soul is capable of mourning and rejoicing simultaneously, of feeling the world's pain and hoping for the world's healing at the same time. However painful, sorrow is good for the soul." (73-74)