Avoiding pain is instinctive. Grief is painful, so we put it off, push it away, avoid it, postpone it, gloss over it, and deny it as long as we can. It floods our souls anyway, an irresistible tsunami of sorrow, hurt, loss, sadness, loneliness, anger, confusion, and fear. We hope it will wash over us, do its damage, and leave us alone. We convince ourselves that we have worked through our grief. But grief comes in in unpredictable waves. It is more like a churning ocean current, a rushing eddy. There is no tide chart for grief. It comes unexpectantly. Each episode might last a day or a month. We try to avoid triggers.
Perhaps grief behaves this way is because God loves us, knows our frame, our limits, our weaknesses, our vulnerability. It seems we are designed in such a way that only the amount of grief we can handle is allowed to inundate us at any given time lest we be overwhelmed, lose heart, and give up. Each episode, each wave of grief, painful as it is, leaves us closer to God and knowing ourselves better. We do not drown. We come out of the brutal waves, at first choking and gasping, only to discover that we seem to know and love ourselves and our God more intimately. He is, after all, the One of sorrow, acquainted with grief who feels our deepest sorrow and weeps with those who weep.