Friday, September 22, 2006
"How happy are those who know what sorrow means, for they will be given courage and comfort!" J. B. Phillips translation
"Happy are those who mourn: they shall be comforted." Jerusalem Bible
My Thoughts-- We are told at times of sorrow or loss by some people that we should "get on with our lives," "move ahead," "put the past behind you". Yet, not to feel deeply a significant loss, e.g. of a loved one, is a loss in itself, -- a deficiency in our humanity. Vulnerability is part of being human.
Recently I finished a book about aging and death in which the author said that it is possible (and desirable) that although we move ahead with the rest of our lives---yet we continue we have a tender and poignant spot in our heart for the loss of loved ones. These two realities don't preclude each other. This approach to personal loss is both both realistic and healing.
The Buddha told a woman who had lost a loved one and could not longer could face ordinary life that she should visit a number of people in her town and ask for a mustard seed from every household in which there had been no loss of a loved one. She returned empty handed and realized that change and loss are part and parcel of existence.
For many persons -- no matter what their religious or spiritual beliefs are -- there is comfort to be found whether in Jesus, God, Torah, Krishna, Bhagavad Gita, Amida Buddha,etc. This is one advantage of having some spiritual belief.
As for a strictly Christian interpretation---it is difficult to express a strictly Christian view because I believe there are a variety of understandings. One that occurs to me which may come from my Roman Catholic upbringing: Jesus mourned the lack of faith and weak understanding of his mission even among his closest disciples. He mourned the coming destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem. Yet, he could find comfort in his heavenly father and that in the long run -- God's will --- shall be done.