Stop, Drop, & Listen

If only my anguish could be weighed and all my misery be placed on the scales! It would surely outweigh the sand of the seas–no wonder my words have been impetuous. (Job 6:2-3 NIV)

Don’t be a fool!

Yes, a fool.

And yes, I am talking to you.

I have made many foolish mistakes in my life. Sometimes I am afraid my picture has been used in the dictionary as the illustration of the definition fool.

Free Online Dictionary: Fool–One who is deficient in judgment, sense, or understanding. One who acts unwisely on a given occasion.

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I wish I had cornered the market when it comes to being a fool, but it would be foolish of me to think so.

So when I say Don’t Be A Fool, it’s really about saving ourselves from creating more heartache, pain, anger, and stress in those who are already dealing with a painful reality.

In case you haven’t figured it out yet, this post is really about what to do or not and what to say or not when people are grieving.

Grieving is the hardest work I have ever done. Grieving turns your already upside down world into a life that is now also inside out.

Try to imagine.

Let it be the loss of a child and then the depth of the grieving pit is bottomless… to my friends that belong to the cruelest club in all the world, can I get an Amen?

Here’s how not to be foolish when interacting or attempting to comfort those who grieve:

1. If you can’t control your need to say something with words, buy yourself some duct tape or otherwise, don’t say anything other than I am sorry and I love you (repeated over and over again).

Please try to get this. Job’s friends were most helpful when they sat silent with him in the ashes of mourning. But as soon as they opened their mouths… well, you know the story. Their words did not help. Their words created more pain, more stress, and more anguish.

Even now, well meaning people keep trying to fix me. Sit in the ashes with me, but please quit using your theological arguments to fix what can’t be fixed. My heart may be, but I am not broken!

I suffered a great loss and dealing with that is different for each person. It is a journey, a path, a road that must be traveled. You cannot make it shorter, but you can surely make it longer, harder, and more difficult.

I know my friends have a need to make things better. And I know you would be more comfortable if my grief or struggling wasn’t so evident.

But think of the alternative… Wouldn’t you rather me engage God and wrestle my way back to a stronger, deeper faith than ever before? Wouldn’t you rather me limp with God than not walk at all?

2. This is so important: See what was written above!

Please don’t take this wrong. Please don’t see this as being just about me.

It’s not.

It is, however, about every lost soul who wanders hurt and lonely in the darkness wondering why God has disappeared…

Give us enough time and we’ll find our way again.

God is patient and you should be too.

“Therefore I will not keep silent;
I will speak out in the anguish of my spirit,
I will complain in the bitterness of my soul. (Job 7:11 NIV)

PS. Please hit the share button–and go DWTBA Facebook Page and like and share!

Les Ferguson, Jr.

9 thoughts on “Stop, Drop, & Listen

  1. Great post, Les. Most everyone wants to console the grieving, but sometimes it stems from our love and compassion, and sometimes our own discomfort. You can’t go wrong with, “I’m so sorry, I love you, Is there anything I can do for you?”

    And none of us should ever underestimate the power of our silent presence. Love and compassion don’t always need words.

    Many blessing to you and yours, Les,

    Eric

  2. As part of the club….AMEN!”” Well written my friend. I tell people the same thing. If you dont know what to say just sit with me…tell me you love me….hold me while i cry over my child…and help me keep his memory alive. I pray for some sort of peace and healing for you and your boys and i thank God for Becki for being there to help in the grieving procesd for all of you. Miss you and love you.

  3. AMEN! Some day perhaps we can sit down and I can share my story. Your journey does NOT mirror mine, but your words are helping a heart heal even 30+ years later. Hang in there… and remember we are hanging in there with you!

    PS In my anger and pain I thought that those who said all the wrong things probably spoke those words for themselves and they were not really meant for me. It sure didn’t make me feel any better!!!

  4. Yes, very good. One thing our Compassionate Friends leader reminds us of frequently is, “You used to be one of those people…so forgive them.” Yeah, I forget that I used to be the one searching for some word to say. Love and comfort do not require words.

  5. Very well worded. I think we all want to help in some way but what do you say to someone who went through it the way you did so unexpectedly. Take your time and process what you must the way you must. We are all here to love you through it. I personally, think you are helping others who feel the same no matter why they feel it.

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