"Good Grief"

I don’t know how that expression came to be, but at first I thought, “Those two words don’t seem to go together.” The expression is often used humorously, when someone pretends that a situation is more serious than it really is: “Good grief. It’s only a tiny scratch. We don’t need to call an ambulance.”

In the Charlie Brown cartoon, “good grief” seems to be the favorite expression Linus and Lucy use to express frustration.

Grief has been defined as: deep sorrow, misery, sadness, anguish, distress. It is often an exclamation that expresses surprise, alarm, dismay or some other, usually, negative emotion. Someone expressed grief as, “the feeling of reaching out for someone who’s always been there, only to discover when I need her [or him] one more time, she’s no longer there.” These things certainly don’t seem – good.

The ability to grieve over a loss can be a healthy and helpful thing, a good thing. You may have heard the expression, “Everyone grieves in their own way and at their own pace.” Although that is not a definition, it expresses a truth about grief. Since we all handle and process grief differently, are there some guidelines about handling grief in a healthy way so it can actually become “good”?

When we grieve the loss of a child, healthy grief:

  • recognizes the great value of that child. The deeper the love and connection with the deceased, the deeper the grief or sense of loss.
  • pours out your grief to God.  He always hears the cries of His children.
  • asks for help from others. God doesn’t expect us to grieve alone.
  • looks for blessings.  Not that God needs to bring you loss so He can bring you blessings; but God works even in the worst circumstances to bring something good. From a cross and a tomb God brought salvation and new life that is everlasting!
  • finds ways to use the comfort you receive to share with others. They will be blessed and so will you.

This doesn’t mean we have to just put on a happy face in our grief. 

Paul David Trip writes:

“In times of death, Christians should be sadder than anyone else. We know how sin brought death into the world. We mourn not only for the loved one we have lost, but also for the fact that death continues to destroy. We live in a place where something that was never meant to be has become a common experience. We know how wonderful life on earth could have been.
“Yet we should also be the most hopeful of any who mourn. God brings the best out of the worst. Even in the darkest moments, we are never alone. The death and resurrection of Christ stand as a sure and reliable promise that someday death will die.” *

Embrace the truth of those words and take steps to grieve in a healthy way.  You will find that your grief truly can be GOOD!

*Paul David Trip, Grief, Finding Hope Again, New Growth Press, p.12