23 October 2023 |
We Adventists are very focused on the second coming. Often at funerals, the hope of seeing our loved ones at Jesus’ return is preached, supposing it will ease our pain.
Recently I lost a close family member, and realized that when I heard those words and sang those hymns about Jesus’ second coming, I didn’t experience comfort or hope. Am I missing something?
Signed, Not Comforting to Me
Dear Not Comforting
I’m so sorry that you lost someone dear to you.
And indeed you’re not alone in finding that these promises aren’t instantly comforting. It’s true to say, “You’re going to see your loved one again someday,” but grief is so much more complicated than that.
Religious people may be too eager to reassure you that there’s going to be a resurrection. What they’re doing—undoubtedly with good intentions—is answering a life-wrenching emotional feeling with intellectual promise. And that doesn’t necessarily work.
The real friend in time of grief doesn’t jump in with platitudes, reassurances, or texts. Sometimes it seems to Aunty they are trying to reassure themselves rather than you. The real friend is one who stays present with you and shares your grief. Aunty loves this explanation from Henri J.M. Nouwen:
When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives means the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing, and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.
Aunt Sevvy has collected her answers into a book! You can get it from Amazon by clicking here.
You can write to Aunt Sevvy at DearAuntSevvy@gmail.com. Your real identity will never be revealed.