Although I had witnessed trauma and grief, I had no idea how to grieve. All I knew was that it knocked people off their feet and was so very painful.
A book entitled A Severe Mercy changed my perception of grief. The book is written by Sheldon VanAuken and tells the love story of himself and his beloved wife Davey. Through interaction with C.S. Lewis the couple comes to faith in Christ. Davey’s faith grows strong and she is willing to give everything up for her love of Christ. While Sheldon also believes, he is unwilling to surrender everything to God. Davey’s greatest wish is that Sheldon would surrender completely to God and she is willing to give her life to see that happen. She prays to God for Sheldon and offers herself, if need be, on his behalf. Not long after this prayer, Davey becomes ill and after an extended illness, Davey does indeed die and Sheldon is bereft.
As he described the process he went through to grieve the loss of Davey, I realized that grief didn’t have to be a bottomless abyss of hopeless agony, but that it could be approached in a purposeful way that honored the person lost, the relationship with that person, and God.
Everyone grieves differently and the things Sheldon did might not work for everyone. Still, I believe that the principle behind his actions is universal. Grief can be approached with purpose and a path to hope and recovery can be found.
Has there been a book or song that has encouraged you in your journey through grief?
Please take a moment to share it with the rest of us.