The following is an excerpt from a sermon by Bill Hybels called “A Better Kind of Grieving”:
Here is society's approach to grief management. John James and Frank Cherry, in their book on grief recovery, trace the story of a boy named Johnny. When five-year-old Johnny's dog dies, Johnny is stunned, and he bursts out crying. His dog was his constant companion; it slept at the foot of his bed. Now the dog is gone, and little Johnny's a basket case.
Johnny's dad stammers a bit and says, "Uh, don't feel bad, Johnny, we'll get you a new dog Saturday." In that one sentence, Johnny's dad is really offering the first two steps in society's grief management program: Bury your feelings; replace your losses.
Later when Johnny falls in love with a high school freshman girl the world never looked brighter, until she dumps him. Suddenly a curtain covers the sun. Johnny's heart is broken, and this time it's big time hurt…
…But mom comes to the rescue this time and says with great sensitivity, "Don't feel bad, John, there are other fish in the sea." Bury the pain, replace the loss.
Much later, John's grandfather dies--the one he fished with every summer and felt close to…When John's father brought him home from school, John saw his mother weeping in the living room, and he wanted to embrace her and cry with her. But his dad said, "Don't disturb her, John, she needs to be alone. She'll be all right in a little while. Then the two of you can talk…”
Let's review. Bury your feelings; replace your losses; grieve alone; let time heal; live with regret; never trust again. How does that sound? It sounds familiar. It's been society's approach for years.
For the record that’s not how the people of the Bible did it. Their grief was vocal, unashamed and corporate. Mourning was done for everyone to see. This Sunday we’re going to be remembering the attacks that took place on 9/11/01. I hope that you won’t shy away. It’s not pleasant to grieve. But it can be good. Real grief is what leads to real redemption and real joy. They all go together. And in spite of the tragedy, there is much to be joyful about.