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Pilgrim's Guides


  Strategies for Resolving Grief
Part Five



The Sacrament of the Present Moment

Harnessing Grief
Grief that Inspires Creativity
The Power of Writing to Heal
The Power of Music to Heal
The Blessing of Friendship
Ceremonies that Facilitate Grief
Gratitude that Sustains


When I am strong, I will fight,
and when I am weary of the fight
I will rest in You ,
for Your love cannot be beaten.
When I am alone,
when I feel the icy touch of fear,
I will take it in my hand
and hold it out to You,
and in the heat of Your love
it will melt away.

When my heart feels isolated,
when no one can comfort me
and the crowd serves
only to remind me of how alone I am,
I will look within myself where You wait
and I will remember to allow You to love me.

Then when the joy is so strong
that I cannot take life in quickly enough,
I will remember to take a moment to sit with You
and appreciate the beauty You created.
And when the night comes,
I ask only that I be alive with peace and faith,
so that I may not fear
the new day that lies beyond.
Alison Browne (aged 21)

  Some of us compensate for the losses we have sustained in life by “talking our grief out.” Others of us prefer to immerse ourselves in physical endeavours; so much so that some might mistakenly assume that we were not grieving at all.

Others again express their grief emotions through writing, photography, painting or music, perhaps to “memorialise” the person or thing that we have lost. Journalling, too, provides a creative way to express grief emotions, without overloading our support networks. It can be helpful, too, to write with a particular person in mind, addressing updates to a loved one – or directly to the Lord Himself.

Books are such outstanding friends. They reduce our sense of isolation and involve us in each other’s pilgrimages. God inspires those of us who have a call to write so that you can pick us up or put us down whenever you feel like it!

Given that by no means all the opinions we come across will prove helpful to our emotional or spiritual growth, we dare not allow grief to switch our discernment off. There are all too many who will tell us that God is no more than a distant power, who will do nothing to help or guide us. There are better ways to adjust to our new situation than to reduce our faith to fit such dismal assumptions – especially if they fly in the face of all we know about the God we love and serve.

Reflect and Pray

Lord, we cry to You,
don’t let grief shrink our faith
or narrow our perspectives!
Help us to study and to read
beyond our normal reading habits,
and in so doing –
turn sadness into joy,
sight into insight
and make us more alert
to what You are saying and doing.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.






Serif photo dvd

Grief that Inspires Creativity
There is nothing more inventive than suffering.

Many of the writings, compositions and paintings that speak most deeply to our spirits, have emerged from the shadow of dark times.5 Just think of the impact that Joni Eriksson's books and talks have had, following the victory she won over depression in the aftermath of the diving accident that left her a quadriplegic. Read More. . .

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