Grief: Getting A Handle On It

Listen to this obituary

“If you are reading this book, there is a high probability that your heart is broken.” 

So begins the John James and Russell Friedman book The Grief Recovery Handbook.  They go on to say they have listed at least forty ways that your heart can be broken, and I am sure they have missed a few! YOUR loss needs to be verbalized and then validated by your support system.

Romans 12:15 (NKJV) = Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.

This empathy is not optional. And if we as people helpers do not work through our own grief issues, how are we going to be able to help someone else?

James and Friedman say that grief is the conflicting feelings caused by the end of or change in a familiar pattern of behavior. All relationships bring grief with them from time to time, whether they be romantic, social, familial, or businesslike.

Sometimes we religious leaders have done grieving folks a disservice by simply telling them they should just read their Bible and pray. But there is more to grief recovery than just reading the Bible and praying!

Well-meaning friends have literally told some grievers that they should “get over it” and just “move on.” Likewise, grief is not that simple.

We’ve defined what “grief” is, but what about the word “recovery?” Recovery involves feeling better. That’s it! You are no longer stuck in the same grieving place, and life is becoming a new normal.

Recovery means that we are learning skills that we should have learned in a normal childhood. My daddy used to say, “There’s no guarantee of tomorrow.” How true that is! Today, right now, is all we really have! Do what you need to do today!

One thing I do know about grief recovery is that recovering grievers WANT to recover. Do you?

Jesus one time asked a man a deep and hard question: John 5:5-9 (NKJV)
5  Now a certain man was there who had an infirmity thirty-eight years.
6  When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, “Do you want to be made well?”
7  The sick man answered Him, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me.”
8  Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your bed and walk.”
9  And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked. And that day was the Sabbath.

What unfinished grief recovery do YOU have?

May God help you to get headed back in the right direction. Do YOU want to be made well? You can be.

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Doug Greenway

These blog articles are written by the retired minister and former educator and counselor, Doug Greenway. He'd love to hear from you with your comments, questions, or suggestions for future topics. You may reach Doug at

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