He sat there alone in his island of grief.
I could feel it from where I sat, I recognized it, remembering.
Just what is it we’re afraid of when someone is grieving?
That if we are too close we will catch it?
“Go over there” the Holy Spirit whispered.
I waited all day, awkward as I passed his desk each time.
Do I really want to go back there,
To that dark place I knew long ago?
“I don’t even know him,” I argued.
“But you know it” God said.
Yes, I do know it, I walked that path long ago.
And making contact, saying I understand, is a bit of going back to that grief.
That dark place.
I waited all day, and then tentatively, having to cross the room anyway,
I walked by his desk.
Said I was sorry for his loss,
Stuttered and stammered a bit.
I said the only words that really matter at a time like that.
“I lost a spouse too.”
And as I looked into his eyes I saw it.
Saw what I felt all those years ago.
Recognized it, felt it.
I pray that He recognized the same grief in my eyes.
That he knew that I knew.
More important than words.
We touched souls.
There is a consolation in going through terrible things once we have reached the other side. That we may help others find the way back though the fog. I remember so well, those first few weeks back at work. I was almost superhuman, but at the same time, moving through a pea soup fog, that made moving extremely difficult. Everything was labored. Life was going on all around me, but it was all outside. I was locked inside.
We may feel ineffective, like we don’t have the words. Many times we don’t. So don’t say anything. Just sit there a moment with your arm around them. Maybe shed a tear with them. Just don’t leave them alone. I can’t express how much the kind actions of others meant to me at that time. Yes, there were the stupid comments, the thoughtless comments. But all these years later, it is the kindness that emerges, that still at times moves me deeply.
The fog did lift. It always does.
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3,4
This picture was taken by Andrew Schmidt at publicdomainpictures.net. I have always loved fog except for the danger of it. I was raised in the fog of San Joaquin county. It would come in so thick you couldn’t see the house across the street. I loved the way it surrounded everything, swallowed everything up. I liked the closeness of it. I never forget that on an extremely foggy day, I had the most incredible spiritual touch from God that I have ever had. That experience has never left me. However, the fog did get depressing at times, and it is extremely scary to drive in it.