IN the movie “Forrest Gump”, the lead character runs across the United States. The reaction to run was born out of a childhood spent being bullied and the advice of a neighborhood friend to “Run, Forrest, Run!” The cross country trek is undertaken after the death of his beloved mother. The feeling of being lost overwhelms the character Forrest and so he undertakes a journey to find himself. During a moment of rest another traveler approaches him, stepping in a pile of manure as he does so. The character Forrest then says an iconic phrase: “Shit happens.”
Our trajectory of life is not a smooth course. While each generation is convinced theirs is the most difficult, the fact is that life has never been an easy uphill climb. The history of the world bears out the fact that stiff happens, shit happens, and we need to deal with it. One such example is grief. Queen Elizabeth II is reported to have once said “Grief is the luxury and result of having loved.” It is. Blessed are those who grieve because they had something they loved and have now lost.
Benjamin Disraeli once remarked that “grief is the agony of an instant, the indulgence of grief the blunder of a life.” This is why we have the Beatitudes. They remind us of this very fact. Life has its moments of unpleasantness but it is only when we roll around in them and become comfortable in them that they become our life. When we give them the correct attention, they are simply steps along our journey, not the destination.
The goodness of grieving is found in the essence of why we grieve – love and goodness. I myself am horrible at goodbyes so grief is something I could easily become lost in, a destination instead of a moment. Moving on does not mean we no longer love. It simply means that we have valued the love and now are using it to live.
“Blessed are those who mourn: for they will be comforted.” It may not seem like a blessing to mourn but the blessing comes from having something to mourn, for realizing what we had that is now different. True love never dies but it does change. When life happens and we no longer have what we once had in the same form, we learn to move on and find comfort in realizing that whatever it is for which we grieve, we really still have it. The goodness of love is that it never dies, just takes on a new form.
Stuff happens and sometimes life gets icky, sticky messy. When we grieve properly, we find ourselves moving on in our tears. The knowledge that love improves our living is not new but using it to grieve and then move forward might be. The same motivation love provided is still there. IT is never good to indulge in anything that does not strengthen us. Blessed are those who view love for the eternal beauty it offers and then move one to spread it and recreate it in the new day.