Ecclesiastes 7:2 It is better to go into the house of mourning, than to go into the house of feasting. After writing House of Mourning last week, some feedback and my own pondering led me to write part 2. This is much more of my own personal journey.
Most homes, when entered by the main entrance, have some sort of foyer or meeting place. I think it is true for the house of mourning as well. Fear, pain, and confusion keep many people from truly entering the house. They linger there, but do not really embrace the opportunity it affords. Sometimes we want to escape our deny our grief, so we run to the house of feasting. But somehow it doesn’t bring the expected relief. Others turn to alcohol, drugs or even unhealthy relationships to dull the pain. Prescribed medications or a glass of wine may be good for you, if it doesn’t turn into an addiction.
Years ago the Holy Spirit warned me against the use of alcohol because of family addictions (my biological father was an alcoholic); so I stayed away from that. (Even though the temptation came!) A more socially accepted escape is busyness! Just keep going until you can’t go any more. One of my “escapes” was binge watching TV shows. Netflix was my friend and filled the quiet of my home. I couldn’t do movies, because TV shows were about all I could focus on. It is in the “foyer” time that listening to the Holy Spirit is very important. There came a time where He showed me I needed to balance television with other things. As we follow Him, there is never condemnation, but only the loving teacher and guide that shows us what is best for us. This is where we must release our faith and our trust.
As I allowed Him to lead me past the foyer and teach me about my grief, greater peace came. I had to silence the television and listen to the Spirit. Worship music filled my home and my heart. As I turned to Him through journaling and prayer, I could feel His restoration taking place. I will admit, it was a much slower and harder process than I expected. I asked Him one day, can’t you just take this pain away, and He said no. I want you to learn from it. So I said, fine, then teach me and help me. I felt alone often, because there is a balance between wanting people to help and reach out to you and being (in your head) the “needy” one. I think pride gets involved in some ways as well, which keeps you from asking for help when needed. I also was concerned for my children, who were walking their own grief journey as well. They were concerned for me, and I for them. I am so grateful the Lord was by my side through all my ups and downs. I took comfort in David’s honesty and bared my soul to Him, which helped me learn many things about myself, some that weren’t easy! I learned there are many emotions that arise, and I had to accept that the house of mourning was a safe place for each of them; because often they are really jumbled.
One gift God gave me was a dear friend whose wife passed five months after Darryl. We could listen to each other with understanding. It was an immense help to both of us. Because we knew each other’s spouses and had history, it made it easier. One revelation the Lord gave me as I stumbled along in the house of mourning, was that He had helped many others through their grief times. I wasn’t the first person to walk this path with Him. He knew what He was doing! Somehow that helped me release my faith—which is soo needed in the house of mourning.
I also learned that not all my questions will be answered in the house of mourning. Many remain in the ‘I choose to trust you realm’, and probably will be until we see Him face to face. I’ve learned to be content with that in the house of mourning.
Please be patient with those in the house of mourning. It is not a simple place to be. Please be patient with yourself if you are in the house of mourning. He is always with us, but when I actively brought Him into my grief and allowed Him to help me navigate the house of mourning, it became much easier. “Help me Lord” was a common prayer; but when I actually looked for the help—expecting it to be given was when I entered into more of His rest.
I am not finished visiting and learning from the house of mourning by any means; but I do not fear it nor try to avoid it. It is difficult to explain the benefits of the house of mourning. The good news is He promises never to leave us, nor forsake us—and that includes the house of mourning.
Father, I ask that you walk close with those who are getting used to the house of mourning. It is hard, but you, my Father, know it is hard. I ask for courage for all of us. Courage to learn the lessons found in the house of mourning. I thank you that your Spirit is there as a comforter and guide. I thank you we will discover not only the blessing of your peace and presence, but will learn about ourselves so we can help others. Thank you for your loving care and concern. Thank you for teaching us how to live fully the life you have given us, before someone enters the house of mourning because of our passing. Please teach us how to comfort those that mourn. In Jesus Name, amen.