But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
~ John 14:26
I was recently at the bedside of a woman who had died. She was surrounded by several family members, including her older sister, her daughter, and the newest great-grandchild born into the family. As we sat and I listened to them share of memories with the woman, her older sister looked at me and shared, "Today I lost my last sister. I am the only one left out of eight of us."
I couldn't help but realize that this woman had experienced the death of every one of her siblings, and that she was now the remaining reminder of her generation. She reached over and picked up the latest grandchild and began playing with her hands. She looked at me and asked, "So what do you think that the greatest lesson I have learned about all of this? I have learned that today these are just the 'little tears.'"
"Little tears," I asked?
"The real tears will come later, and they will catch you off-guard, but you have to let them come. That's when you know you are really grieving the loss."
Her encounter with the loss of every sister and brother had taught her a lot about grief and how it appears.
I have often wondered what grief must have looked like for Mary, the mother of Jesus. To have watched her son be killed in the most horrific way, and to be buried, only to once again encounter the resurrected Jesus days later. Scripture does not allow us to enter into those moments, when she first saw him again, and then what it was like for her, as he finally ascends into the heavens, leaving her once again.
I can't imagine what that grief must have looked like.
This Sunday as we celebrate the birth of the church with Pentecost and I am reminded that Jesus told those one afternoon in a sermon, "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted." (Matthew 5:4) Additionally, the Holy Spirit is also referred to as the "Comforter." (John 14:26)
In as much as the Holy Spirit is part of the who God is, I am also reminded that the Holy Spirit was also sent for those whom had lost Jesus. Their grief was still real. Their mourning was real as well.
More than anything, Pentecost should also be the reminder that God is also about comforting those who have experienced loss, those who mourn, and those who are to be comforted.
Stay in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2019
Rev. G. Todd Williams lives in the Houston metro area and is a Hospice Chaplain and ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor.