Some Pastoral Reflections on Grief

Richard Bryant
Some Pastoral Reflections on Grief

Ocracoke has had more than our share of grief recently....

....and, as a close-knit community, we all want to help the grieving. We asked the Methodist pastor to share these thoughts with us:

1) Grief is an intensely personal experience. No matter how much we try to make it a communal experience; grief remains a personal journey. There are moments where we will travel with others. Yet, we will still be alone. Respect the person and the journey. If someone asks for privacy, respect their wishes. Love and grace aren’t pushy. They are ready.

2) Grief is not bounded by the concepts of linear space and time with which we measure our lives. Grief knows no day or night, hour or minute, or physical boundaries.

3) Unchecked, grief may live forever. Yet those who grieve may learn to create limits around their grief. No one else can do this for them.

4) Sadness, depression, and loneliness are not grief. These may be symptoms of grief. Grief, especially after the death of someone you love, is an emptiness that is too hard to define in clinical terms.

5) Love is not the antidote to grief. Instead, love is a way to respond to those who are grieving. The church accompanies the grieving on their journey in love. Love should be offered with kindness and respect. Grief does not need an antidote.  At the right time, grace needs to be ready. Whether in the form of meals, hugs, notes, or a ministry of presence; be there when needed. Re-read number 1 if needed.

Richard is the pastor at Ocracoke United Methodist Church.

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