Whether it is the loss of a loved one or the failure of a relationship, or a project, we all go through times of grief or disappointment. But as hurtful as it can be, grief can also cleanse our hearts.
Why is it so painful to lose a loved one? Because when they leave, we remember their warmth, their smile, their hugs, and their presence. Our memory is invaded by the beautiful moments that we have lived, and by the legacy that this person left us. As if mourning makes us forget the sacrifices made to take care of this person, their lack of thankfulness, their bad habits, and all the disagreements we have experienced.
Grieving hurts because we forget the pain and see only the lost benefits. Come to think of it. Grieving is a way to purify our relationship. Everything that was bad goes up in smoke, and only pure gold remains. It is a difficult, painful process, but if we take it seriously, we come out of it enriched.
This grieving process, we do not experience it only when a loved one leaves we also feel it after every failure. It’s the same painful feeling we get when we date a charming single person only to realize, after a few weeks or months, that this relationship cannot end in marriage. We had nice discussions, we imagined spending Christmas together, we told our friends about this person with stars in our eyes… but the relationship ended. Whether it ended horribly over an argument, or peacefully because we realized our incompatibility, we all go through the same grieving process. The fire burns the dross, and we suffer the loss of pure gold.
As singles, we also suffer from having hoped. All those weeks we spent believing in the future, imagining ourselves as a couple… such a lost! Why is it so painful? Because hope is gold, and cannot die (1 Corinthians 13:13). We can choose to drown out that light, to stop hoping, to prevent being hurt or disappointed. But to refuse to hope is to refuse our humanity. Hope puts us in a state of vulnerability, but it is in this humility that God can shine (2 Corinthians 12:10).
God does not want us to stop dreaming for fear of being hurt. He just wants us to learn to put our hope in Him so that we stay anchored, even when we go through the fire (Daniel 3:17-18). We had hoped for a “relationship” built-in “God”: the “relationship” did not work, but after the fire of mourning, we still have “God” left. “For you, God, tested us; you refined us like silver” (Psalm 66:10 NIV). We must appreciate what is left because what is left has gone through the fire and remains. It is pure gold.
The best way to feel enriched by grief is to appreciate what remains of our experience. We are left with God: He will never abandon us. Not even hellfire can eradicate His love for us (Romans 8:38-39). And we are left with good memories: seeds of joy that have made our love and inner peace grow. And we are also left with life lessons and precious tools to be strengthened in wisdom.
Grief and failures do not make us losers. It is a fire that comes to purify and enrich us.