I’ve seen this first hand with my elderly parents the past year. Almost weekly, a close friend, neighbor or acquaintance dies…usually from old age, but that still doesn’t lessen the blow of their passing. Even though death and dying is a part of life, we still mourn and experience sadness in our loss. The Psalmist here is lamenting to God that his friends, parents, or maybe children are gone…leaving him in a very dark place in his life. We all at sometime in our lives will feel just like this Psalmist…grappling with the loneliness and sorrow of losing loved ones. And that’s OK. Giving ourselves permission to grieve is a healthy and vital part of the grieving process. It’s OK also to feel lonely. That person we’ve known so well has left, and what remains is a void…a gapping hole in our heart of palatable sadness. It’s at that time that cherished memories help to bridge the chasm of grief. Sharing those memories with others is also a way of slowly moving out of that dark place into the light. For God knows exactly how you feel…He understands your pain…you may feel lonely, but with Him, you’ll never be alone.
Most of us have a hard time expressing our condolences to a friend that’s just lost a loved one. We stumble around, trying hard to say something that will bring comfort. But it’s only the Lord that can truly bring solace and peace during a time of anguish and mental pain. Probably one of the most uncaring things to say is, “I know how you feel.” No you don’t, and you never will. Grief and grieving is unique to everyone, and all of us will go through it differently. But with the Lord’s help, grief will be soothed… fears will be quieted… peace will still frantic thoughts…and over time, joy will return.