Good Grief

Like many of you, Mister Rogers was a part of my childhood.

Despite that fact, I resisted watching the biopic on his life, "A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood", starring Tom Hanks.  I'm not sure why - maybe a feeling that it was childish or below me.  But last night Anita and I watched.  I also learned.

Near the end of the story, Rogers is meeting with a terminally ill man and his family, who are struggling with grief.   Rogers mention that dying is human.  He then says:

“Anything that’s human is mentionable, and anything that is mentionable can be more manageable. When we can talk about our feelings, they become less overwhelming, less upsetting, and less scary. The people we trust with that important talk can help us know that we are not alone.”

Rogers was an ordained Presbyterian minister.  The movie is a rare, positive Hollywood depiction of faith in action.  He reads scripture.  He prays deeply.  It is clear that his theology of grieving is profoundly informed by his knowledge of God's word.

Which brings me to now.  We have all gone through a lot over the last 10 months.  One thing I have not talked about publicly is the importance of grieving our losses.  There have been many. Perhaps you have experienced some of the following:

- Separation from friends and family
- Feelings of isolation and loneliness
- Death of a friend or loved one
- Loss of income
- Elimination of the illusion of security

As I was listening to Rogers, two quotes came to mind.  

"Mourn with those who mourn."  Paul in Romans 12:15b

"Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted."  
Jesus in Matthew 5:4

Mourning and grieving are things we like to avoid in our culture. Talking about pain is difficult.

Yet Paul calls followers to mourn alongside the hurting.  Jesus goes further saying that mourning is a blessed activity, and promises that those who do mourn will be comforted.

Giving our pain, our losses, our grief to God, and discussing (mentioning) it to safe people is the start of healing (management) - the beginning of comfort.

I hope our church is a safe place for this kind of real conversation.  And I am here if anyone needs to talk.

You Are Loved,
Pastor Mike

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