Per usual, I was having a conversation with a friend about grief and I told her that healing doesn’t mean not feeling. I thought about all the times I walked around not feeling anything because I didn’t have the energy or time to do so. There was always something more important to focus on. Work, church, family, friends, always something. I didn’t realize my cup was full and this grief was spilling over into every area of my life. I didn’t notice how many plans I cancelled or didn’t bother to make. I didn’t notice how careful my interactions were with others, afraid they’d ask too many questions. I didn’t notice how quiet my dreams had become.

I told my friend a lot of stuff that she probably already heard or wasn’t interested in hearing, but I wish I told her about Job. When my dad passed, I turned to the Book of Job, for what I thought would bring me hope and solace, after all, growing up in church I always heard how Job was faithful to God even after he lost everything… That’s not exactly how the story went. Job was not praising God all the day long while he went through. He wasn’t pretending nothing was wrong. To put it quite frankly, Job was not here for what God was allowing him to go through and he didn’t mind telling his friends and God about it. Maybe Job didn’t curse God, but he cursed the day he was born. He had no problem displaying his grief by tearing his clothes and shaving his head. In fact, in Job 7:11, Job says he won’t be quiet, but he’ll talk about his anguish and he’ll complain from his bitter soul. Job refused to suffer in silence like so many of us do. We think we’re doing everyone a favor, including ourselves, by not grieving so loudly, but it’s killing us softly. Job was as faithful as they come, and even he acknowledged the pain he endured.

Everyone’s process is different but I’m of the belief we can’t talk grief out in our heads. For some it means going to counseling, for others it means going to lunch with a friend, for others talking to God out loud, and still others it means writing a book about it. Or you may be like me and have to do all of the above (a lot of times). Just because you can’t “feel” grief or maybe you ignore it, doesn’t mean it’s not there, begging for your attention, wanting you to share it so you don’t have to bear the load by yourself. Your display of grief may not be as elaborate as Job’s, but its affect on your life can be just as impactful. I’m going to tell you like I told the little girl at my school who wouldn’t speak up for herself: “you better open your mouth and say something.”

Chicago, IL (April 2019)