The Emotional Roller Coaster at the Carnival of Life; Thoughts on the Dark Tunnel of Grief
Then Job answered, “Oh that my grief were actually weighed and laid in the balances together with my calamity! For then it would be heavier than the sand of the seas…” – Job 6:1-3 A
Grief is a part of life. Everyone is eventually touched by its broad brushstroke at some point in their life. Simply put, it is part of the human life portrait. But just because grief is part of life doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt. Grief hurts, and it hurts badly. In our passage above, we see that our friend Job knew the reality of grief quite well. In one brief moment, his sons and daughters had been crushed by the walls of a collapsed house.
When you lose a loved one, it can feel as if the walls of your entire world have collapsed. It can cause you to feel that your heart has been sucked out of you, only to be replaced with a vacuum of emptiness. It makes you feel as if you are in the lead car of an emotional roller coaster, taking you straight into a dark tunnel of despair.
We really do not have a choice in whether or not we ride the emotional roller coaster of life, nor do we have a choice in whether or not we enter the dark tunnel of grief. For it is God our conductor who hands us our ticket in the first place, and He does so the moment our loved one dies. But what is up to us is how we respond while taking the ride. We can choose to get on kicking and screaming (which might help for a time), but eventually only adds to the chaos. Or we can choose to be seated in the safety harness of God’s love, which He personally fastens. But no matter what our response is, one thing is for sure; the tunnel of grief continually reserves its spot at the carnival of life, and we must be ready for when our ticket is punched.
But in all of this, there is a hard truth we must face. Being buckled into the safety harness of God’s love might make for good poetry and storytelling, but it is much more difficult to live out, especially when grief comes rushing in at you. And when the sadness and hopelessness of grief invade your world, it can be overwhelming if you do not see your grief through the prism of Christianity.
C.S. Lewis once suggested that losing a loved one is like having an amputation. Part of you is gone forever, never to be replaced. Yet life goes on. I believe Lewis is quite right. If you lose a limb, you lose part of you forever, and the scar will mark your nub for the rest of your life. But that’s the point; you still have life! You are alive, and life is certainly worth living.
Grief is not about “getting over” the loss of your loved one. The truth is, you never “get over” their passing. It would be cold and callous to even suggest that. But, by the grace of our good God, you can “get through” the dark tunnel of grief. There is drastic difference in “getting over” something and “getting through” something. The amputee will never “get over” losing his leg, but with the help of God, he can “get through” it. If we are to grow in our Christian walk, we cannot skip and “go over” every dark and uncomfortable tunnel that comes our way. Instead, we must see the dark seasons of life in the light of God’s love, and know that He has our best interest in mind as we “go through” them.
While grieving over the loss of a loved one, it is so easy to get tunnel vision, especially when we enter the dark tunnel of grief. Yet we must see our seasons of grief from an eternal perspective. They are simply another chapter in our total life experience. And through Christ, we can find comfort in knowing that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
– Pastor Eric