As we prepare for tomorrows bank holiday and the screening of the state funeral of our late Queen Elizabeth II I wonder how we are feeling about our own grief?
I am sure I shall weep during the service – Our late Queen has always been a joy to observe, a delight to listen to and an image of steadfast Godliness.
And I am aware that I might touch on other areas of grief as my emotions are stirred; grief for personal reasons, grief for particular circumstances, grief for global reasons. Grief attaches itself to other griefs and sorrows that we hold. Like to like.
So there may be more tears than I anticipate…
And there may not.
We are such particular and peculiar creatures that saying when we shall cry and when we shall remain collected is quite impossible. A single tear or two is one thing, an absolutely overcome sobbing and wailing is different again and these are not somehow managed or manufactured by the individual as some might suggest.
I recall some many years ago an occasion when I cried profusely with 2 compassionate church leaders and to such an extent that tissues were no good and the toilet roll was the only answer to my crying. Thoughts were expressed about getting me a tea towel or a table cloth to mop up the sheer quantity of tears that I shed that evening. Perhaps in the release was ‘Liquid Prayer’ as Spurgeon sometimes named tears.
That night it was not just tears but dare I say the embarrassing running nose – ‘snot’ – as well poured forth. You get the picture. Sometimes we just have to let go, and are no longer the able to hide or contain our grieving inner world.
I speak of ‘inner weeping’ often as I note that many of us hold deeply impacting sadness’s inside. We also hopefully hold deeply moving joyous encounters; memories and delights inside too. It is all about balance (that awful word!) – when there appears to be nothing to be joyous about depression can creep in. When the individual is purely pleasure seeking and blissfully unaware of others grief or trauma they can become unbearably selfish and dispassionate – blinkered and unrealistic. We must learn to manage both joys and sorrows within ourselves and within our lives. There will always be both.
Socially we are not an outwardly demonstrative grieving or lamenting people. But as the Archbishop Justin Welby has noted it may be helpful to us/you to join with others tomorrow in our saying goodbye to our late Queen Elizabeth II. We may find comfort by being with others.
If you fear that you may suffer the running nose syndrome and need to be alone to grieve then feel free to grieve in your own manner; for the most important thing is that we give honour to God for enabling our late Queen to be such a marvellous woman of faith, and that even through our tears we make our commendation of our late Sovereign to His good and eternal care.
Let us be real about our grief and let some of that ‘inner weeping’ out, if not all of it…tears are such a gift…
As we hold each other in prayer;
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.