Grief as a Life Force for Healing

A Video Devotion by Shea Darian (August 2020)

© 2020 by Shea Darian. All Rights Reserved.

Written Text: Grief is everywhere these days. You can’t miss it. So, if you’re in the depths of grief right now, you’re certainly not alone. 

Even before Covid-19 hit, a young journalist told me that “Grief is the national state of consciousness.” When he said it, it hit me as such an awful truth: We’re suffering so many losses right now that grief is nearly all most of us can feel, think, or talk about.

But there’s something to celebrate in our grief, too. Let me explain before you throw a shoe at your screen:

Grief isn’t just something that happens to us whenever trauma strikes. Our lives are a series of perpetual changes. Changes that breed loss and losses that breed grief. And so it goes. As human beings, grief is a given – as much a part of us as blood & bones. And when we make peace with the fact that our grief is always with us, we can learn to use our grief as a Creative Life Force for Healing.

Grief as a Life Force for Healing?

Perhaps it’s a ridiculous proposition. Grief hurts. Grief sometimes threatens to break our hearts and minds into a million shard-like pieces. Grief comes when loved ones die or disappear or when they leave, lie to, or betray us. 

Grief comes with violence, loneliness, isolation. It comes with broken hopes or dreams, life-threatening illness, fire, flood, or a system of injustice. Grief comes whenever we lose what we love. Love and Change, in fact, are grief’s essential ingredients. 

So, it’s no wonder that this Jesus of Nazareth we follow is known as the Man of Sorrows: Jesus embodied love as no other and he used love as a catalyst for change. So, for Jesus, it’s a double whammy. With love and change as his mantras, Jesus had no choice but to be a Man of Sorrows.

Fortunately, Jesus knew how to use grief as a Creative Life Force for Healing. He showed us how – in so many ways:

Jesus wept. Over the deaths of friends & family members. He lamented when people were incapable of love or change. He sometimes got angry with grief that motivated him in his ministry. 

When he felt like death, he went into the garden alone to pray and seek God’s companionship. He received the caring touch of a woman who anointed him with oil, and he created a feast of spiritual communion with his disciples even as he journeyed toward his crucifixion. In his darkest moments, he spoke of joy, hope, faith, love. 

And after he learned that his beloved friend & cousin, John the Baptist, was beheaded – Jesus went off in a boat alone to be with his grief. Then, his grief moved him with compassion, spurred him to action. He came ashore to heal the people who flocked to him there. He welcomed the people to stay and provided them with food for the body & nourishment for the soul. 

That’s how Jesus used grief as a creative life force of healing. 

Today, when we’re so aware of grief touching everyone in our world, may we strive to do the same. Amen. 

Copyright 2020 by Shea Darian. All rights reserved.

Published by Shea

Shea Darian, M.Div. is a family and grief educator, spiritual care provider, and award-winning author. Shea is the creator of the Model of Adaptive Grieving Dynamics, published in the journal Illness, Crisis & Loss, Vol. 22(3), 2014. Books on family spirituality include Sanctuaries of Childhood: Nurturing a Child's Spiritual Life and Living Passages for the Whole Family: Celebrating Rites of Passage from Birth to Adulthood. Shea's new book, Doing Grief in Real Life: A Soulful Guide to Navigate Loss, Death & Change will be released in 2021. Visit

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