why shared grief (and shared joy) is so very powerful

God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. – 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

1-IMG_4945So I’ve got to say, “Wow!” We can certainly feel the love here at Maul-Hall. I must admit I am pretty much overwhelmed at the level and the depth of response to yesterday’s post – Goodbye Scoutie.

It’s actually very cool how something so simple (and at the same time loaded with authentic truth) as grief and the pain of loss can bring everyone together. Seriously, folks, this is a hugely important idea and I want you to stay with this post as I explore it further.

Our connection to one another:

Yesterday lunchtime, when the sadness completely overwhelmed us and all we could do was to cry, Rebekah and I brushed against a place so fundamental to the human condition that it is universal. This is what communicated in my blog post, and through the link on Facebook. Everyone who has experienced loss not only understands but they tend to reach out in love and solidarity. In that moment, our connection to one another – to the human community – is more important than anything that could potentially divide us.

This is important because – I believe – it illustrates both what is at stake and what is possible in this difficult, confrontational, dare I say dangerous social/political moment where we find ourselves as a nation.

When we find the place where we are united we also find the only place where truth of any lasting value resides. However, when we insist on being combative over what is incidental and peripheral then we are unable to meet at the place of truth anywhere other than at times of tragedy and loss.

Where Truth Resides:

We must remember to come together in shared joy as well as shared sorrow. It’s past time for another “Hands Across America” – a practical demonstration that we are all (irrespective of politics or race or religion or gender or age) grateful for the freedom we enjoy and grateful for one another. Celebrating the Fourth of July just because we are American (rather than Republican or Democrat). Singing praise because we are God’s beloved children (not Baptist or Catholic or Methodist or Presbyterian – or Jewish, or Islamic…). Packing stadiums to cheer for the joy of the game, not partisan victory or our opponent’s defeat.

And here is what really concerns me. Our obsessive focus on what does not matter is increasingly likely to lead us to more tragedy and loss and then we will only be united in our grief when we could have stood together, first, in our joy.

1-IMG_E1112Rebekah and I are both deeply moved by all the love and sympathy in response to the passing of “The Best Dog in the History of the World.” It reminds us that what brings us together is so very powerful.

Let’s remember that what unites us is always the strongest truth, and go there in our shared joy too – DEREK


2 thoughts on “why shared grief (and shared joy) is so very powerful

  1. Anne Margaret Bartholomew

    As always Derek, I am touched by the power of your observation of the current moment and how it relates to our broader experience. Amen, yes, we must stand together, realize and acknowledge that we are so much more alike than we are different, on every level, with our brothers and sisters. Thank you for your keen wisdom. And sending my deepest condolences on the loss of your beautiful Scout. I have been through this loss several times before, but there’s always one that seems to connect with us on a deeper level. Surely Scout was that for you and Rebekah. Hugs and prayers for you both.


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