There is an immeasurable and often indescribable weight that comes with grief. It overwhelms us. It can isolate us.
Even though we all go through it, very few know how to travel with us in it. Grief catches us off guard, it takes our breath away. It is exhausting.
It can seem never-ending, like a dark presence lurking that we can never really shake. We can go about life as we normally would, and grief can hang in the air.
We can feel it as a nation, a community, as a neighbourhood, as a family, as an individual.
Grief is necessary. It reveals something of the love we have felt, the value we hold for and with one another.
Grief is a reality Jesus understood. He weeps as he arrives at the burial site of a family friend. He weeps with those and for those who have buried someone they love. No other explanation, Jesus simply weeps with and as part of the community.
We can be too quick to brush grief aside or express strength for the sake of others. We might find greater strength in sharing our grief with one another.
I have recently heard, that grief is not something we get over, but we walk through.
Grief is a reality Jesus understood.
While Jesus wept with the community, he recognised the reality of this world, even in the knowledge of his own death, but it is not without hope.
"In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."
This isn't to dismiss the grief, but recognises that as we move through grief, there is an assurance of hope.
We don't always understand the circumstances of our grief but hope doesn't dismiss, suppress or ignore it. It gives perspective in our grief. It doesn't take away the tears or ignore the sadness, or even the anger we might feel.
Hope gives us the courage, the grace, the humility to keep moving through our grief. It is the promise of one who walks with us, understanding our grief, while pointing to the promise there are things yet to be revealed we cannot see.
The promise of Jesus doesn't dismiss our grief. The hope we have in Jesus sustains us through our grief. Whatever grief you might be going through, I pray that you discover healing in the hope of Jesus.
Simon Risson on behalf of the Horsham Christian Ministers Association.