In this raw cut, Steve interviews Rev. Dr. Orlando Crespo on grief. They cover a range of topics across a broad set of issue. This episode is unedited. We're planning to transcribe it, edit, and release it as an eBook.
We've got something a little different for you today. It might not be for everyone, but we think it might be helpful. This is Steve Tamayo with gone confianza en Joining us on the podcast today is Reverend Dr Orlando Crispo. He's Inter varsities national director for Latino Fellowship Buffet. And in this interview we talk for almost two hours about grief. The interview is unedited. So you're going to hear some mums. You're gonna hear some awkward pauses. Our intention is to take this interview, transcribe it, edit it down and release it as an e book. But we thought there might be a little bit of interest in the raw audio. So we're going to share it as a bonus episode for our Con Confianza listeners praying for you guys today. We're gonna have a conversation with Orlando Crispo Inter varsities national director for Life A the Latino fellowship. And we're gonna be talking about grief. Thanks for jumping in on this, Orlando. Absolutely. My pleasure. So there's something that I feel like like is needed in this moment around grief, and that's permission to grieve freely. So, Orlando, if you were gonna share kind of what grief is. What is grief?
Sure, Yeah, I think for me, um, with what central to grief is is a relational connection. You know, we don't We don't usually grieve over an anathema object. You know, if my basketball and and it blows up on, I can't plant, you know, I might be frustrated, but I don't grieve in adamant things. What else and grieve is the loss of a correlation, a LCA neck shin in such my grieving can happen. Um, you know, with the death of somewhat, it could happen with the death of ah pet Dearly loved pet or the relational connections of a job, somebody losing their job of retiring. There's something relational about it that causes deep sorrow, because I think that's that's a synonym for grief would be would be sorrow. Um in Isaiah, 53 says surely he has born our grieves and carried our sorrows, and that second units of parallelism and so sorrows is kind of describing grief in that instance, and then it describes. But Jesus is born for us. I think. Yeah, when I think of grief, that's what I think about is something of deep loss deep suffering that happens out of a loss of the relationship.
So in this moment there's a lot of language happening around lament. I feel like lament is a very powerful thing, but it's also a very trendy thing. How is grief different from limit?
Yeah, when I think of remember, think of limitations right, which is kind of the expression of grief. So it's connected to grieve. But it's more the manifestation of grief. Grief is the suffering, and the pain that you feel we'll amend is the ability to express it somehow to try to put language to it. And so that's why you know, look at Scriptures. We have the songs, but then we way have limitations book of poetry that that verbally describe some of the suffering and pain that people were experiencing who voted, you know, whether it's the Israel lights are a biblical writer. Uh, so, um so yes, I think that's how I see the difference if they're very connected. But one is more of ah, the pain of it is the grief. The lament is the the manifestation of the expression of it.
So you can be grieving even if you're not actively lamenting. Even If you're not actively expressing that grief, that grief can still be inside us. I feel like that's an important thing to know cause we're not always in touch with what's going on inside us. What are some ways beyond lamentation beyond lament? What are some ways that we can tell that were grieving?
No. Yeah, I think you know. Course. Some of the evident ways right are that you know it has a grief often is, um, one of the most painful. I think experience is physical experiences the human being can feel. So I think it's It's a feeling that causes a gutter or response. It could be weeping. It could be wailing. It could be tears, Uh, and so I think there's a physicality to grieve, but I think grief can be silent. It could be internal as well. You know, you can kind of shut down emotionally, which I think is part of what happens in this. That stage of denial right to the stages of grief. I could be a form denial to kind of just shut down your feelings. They don't go away. You just you're able to manage them for a season. Uh, but I think I think there's some physicality to it. Uh, and you know the idea. Also off. Um, you know, when you when you lose somebody you're thinking about that were consumed with the loss of right, Because often the only thing we know about life is life with a person. When they're gone, all of a sudden there's that. There's a gaping hole. There's an emptiness that becomes so evident. Uh, petition. Interesting, Because, um, one of the ways that C. S Lewis in the grief observed. Okay, Britain, um, he talks about, uh, pain. See what he says here? He says, um, no one ever told me that grief felt so like fear. And that's an interesting thing. I don't know if we never, ever describe grieving as fear, but as I thought about, I realized, maybe what he's getting at is that, um, the fear that nothing will ever be the sea without the person. There's a There's a fear that of the unknown that you're still living your life. But you have no idea what the future it's gonna be like without that person. It's the fear of paralysis that now you know you don't want to continue because that person is no longer with you, that there could be a fear and that, like, will you be able to function in life? I think there's a real fears, Um, and so I think that's how we can tell we're grieving there, some real emotions behind it, some we can hide. Some will come out at some point, and often that's where I think misplaced emotions happen, right? You can, you know, your your mother, your father dies and you're back to work a few days later, a week later, and all of sudden you find yourself annoyed with a person. Get annoyed with them, but you're annoyed with your loss, the pain that's inside that often gets misplaced or others. And so that's why it's been
deflected or projected onto something, I
guess. Right? That's right. That's right, Nothing. We don't understand what's going on, but I think that's why, with the process of grieving, there's got to be an acknowledgment of of the rial lost there. Uh, I served as, um ah, chaplain during 9 11 I think I mentioned it in her last podcast, and that was very powerful, but also very sobering experience because our biggest goal was to get people talking about their loss, you know, And people just didn't, you know, the workers were there, they were there to do a job and that the swallow, all of these emotions, you know, uh, police officers who had lost lost close friends, you know, firemen who may be lost Ho ho fire departments of people they knew. And so the last thing people want to do it was to talk about it. But we knew that post traumatic stress disorder is a very real thing. If you don't grieve correctly, that the faster you're able to get people talking about it acknowledging that grief in that pain and loss, the better off people will be in the long run. And I don't know if I fully understood it as a young minister, that coin, and it just felt awkward. But I realized that No, I've been so of my own grieving, no decent dinners after that. And, um
well, let me let me ask you about this. So So we're both Latino men, and, um, you're talking about these kind of fire departments and police officers. These sorts of things and you know so for Latino men, for people who are kind of front line emergency workers. And I think even for people in ministry, it can be really challenging to grief. Where were we? Kind of stuff it down and hide it. And because we have to keep functioning. And we're afraid that if we open the lid on our little overwhelm us, I mean, what do you think are some things that make it challenging
degrees? Yeah. Yeah, it is a challenge to greet because, you know, in many ways, life goes on and and I think people have certain expecting If you've never lost somebody, you don't know what the green across this is like it. So I think there are many people out there who could be, ah, pretty un empathetic and heartless. And so if you run into people like that often that's that's the challenges that we feel that we lead others who don't understand the greeting that we go through paying in an office often one of Russia's. Maybe it's our supervisor who wants to rush us through the process because he needs, you know, he needs us to produce whatever we're working on often in our churches. I think people you know to just sound spiritually it's easy to tryto hyper spiritual eyes something and and, uh, to say things like, um, you know, they're in a better place now. Are you know, uh, time, time will heal all wounds. You know, the envy of these platitudes, thes cliches that really don't help. And I think that's a big challenge.
I think those cliches cause I have given them to people in times of grief and found I have had Teoh think about Why is it that I do that? And I think it's because other people's grief can make us feel uncomfortable. It can remind us of our inadequacy, like you lost someone that you loved. I can't bring them back and and so and so I'm confronted with my own and adequacy with the limits of my power, with the limits of my ability to fix things and make things right with the depth of evil and Brokenness, and send and and death in the world in. And so saying the platitude sends a signal Teoh to the person that they need to put their grief back behind the curtain so that I don't have to deal with it anymore, as that's right, and actually, when we you know and you don't want to talk a little bit about how we overcome the challenges of grief. But one of the things I think that is communities that we do is when we give people space to agree, we actually end up taking on some of their grief ourselves. We end up suffering with them. We end up feeling that discomfort. We end up confronting some things about us that's hard to confront.
Yeah, yeah. And I think, um, you know, it's, uh, often as Christians. We talked about it incarnation or ministry, where we take on the pain and the hurt and so roles, you know of others. And I think often we have the planet is because, like I said, I don't want to feel that they were not there. We moved on. Uh, my my sister loved Elba in then is I lived with us for 27 years, was a wonderful addition of part of our family. She was developmentally disabled all her life. So my wife was like a second mother to her, and we were very close. She died just recently in November November 15th. So these things feel very fresh, Teoh, Right now. Um, but there was a moment, even a few weeks ago where my wife had this kind of arm anxiety attack is overwhelmed, particularly in New York City. Here with the epicenter of this crooner virus, we're hearing about a lot of deaths. Just so so near us, even in our own church, with several people who die on the and I think it hit her really hard. And for me, I just wasn't there, you know, I wasn't in that same space, a place that she was in her grieving. Then I recorded it for myself, almost saying What? No, you should just have to get over this. I never said that to her, but I remember feeling
well and that's that's you've been married for. How long? 30 years. 20
5 30 almost 33 30
three years. That's be a part of the secret to being married for 33 years is being able to not say that thing with
right? Yeah, not to say something,
but you know, there's something there can't pull on that thread a little bit. There's there's something that I think is really insightful. Is that so? So and we'll talk more about this later in the interview, so grief doesn't exist in a vacuum. So So you know, Moret's grief exists in this bigger context where other people are grieving and there's loss and death and pain happening around you in the city. And so so her maybe grief trigger over her, you know, expression of deep sadness for her sister is being amplified by the environment around her. And so there was so you mentioned that I didn't want to move past that too quickly. The other piece is just a to see that even if you don't feel the same way, it doesn't invalidate her rights to feel that way. And you realize that before you said something. And I think that's really important is to just because I don't share, you're your emotional experience. It doesn't invalidate your emotional experience. And I think I think a lot of times, you know, when we're ministering to people and their grieving, we can feel like, um like we have to try to match their emotional experience and I don't know that that's always true. Actually, I think sometimes I could come across fake or phony, that the kind of hired stage people who weep that your stories in the Bible about that When you think about grieving people, you think maybe about Brits. So you think about yourself in times of grief. What are things that they need from from friends, from family, from ministers?
Sure, Yeah, yeah, I mentioned Incarnation. All ministry, right? It's It's often a ministry of kind of getting getting in the pit with people and carry deeply for them. And so and part of that isn't is a ministry of presence. I think you know the ministry of being available and being there and not having easy answers, because often when it comes to loss, we don't have answers. Uh, but we can't continue to love and have, uh, ah, ministry of support and encouragement. And sometimes it might mean just being with somebody in handing and tissue and holding them supporting them, which is a difficult thing to do now, which I know we'll get that later.
Yeah, we'll talk about that later, but I feel like that that ministry of presence is very easy for us to underestimate the impact that that has.
That's right yet because on our and it feels like nothing, I don't have words to say. Uh, I don't have the right Scripture passage. You know, things allude us, and so and often in ministry as Christians, we feel like like there's a biblical answer to everything and, uh, way wanted. We wanna have it. They're ready for people and in some ways that could be helpful at certain times. But when somebody's grieving, they don't always need Scripture passages. Although you know somebody might agree with me disagree with me on that Scripture passes. This could be how helpful. But there times that nothing is going to resolve the pain and the hurt of that person, and what they need is to just feel through it is to is to get through it. Um, there's another. There's another quote here that I had from remember frosting, he mentioned. It is both the best way out is always through, and I think we want to talk to people who are who are experts in grieving. They talk about that grieving. That is not something you get, you know, you kind of just grow out over get past. But it's something you go through its It's a process. It's not in any year. No, um, and it's like when I mentioned with No, it's all right. She was doing funny. I thought she was great. And I said that this happens and it brings her back to a depressive state that she was not feeling for her. A few weeks.
Yeah, years ago I write, I wrote an article for the InterVarsity Blawg where I was engaging with this idea from Was name of that book, this idea, Um, a Severe Mercy by Sheldon Van Auken And he talks about the death of his wife and grieving her, and he says it This idea that people are are so multifaceted that in a way, each facet of a person needs to be grieved separately. And so you might. You might think that you have grieved. You've grieved a person because you're aggrieved, you know, going downstairs to see them because you've grieved at not having them to sit and enjoy a meal with. You've grieved them not being present at Christmas, and it maybe you've grieved all of those things, but Then you see someone wearing a sweatshirt that they used to wear or you hear a song that reminds you of them, and and that grief is fresh, as strong as it's ever been. And yeah, and I think some of that is is really if we really think about who are people in what our relationships. We just acknowledge that they're so complex. There's so many different facets to them. I think it creates space to think that grief is of course, grief is gonna come in waves. Of course, it's gonna It's gonna be strong and is going to go away, and then it's gonna come back, maybe even from a different angle or a different source. It's not gonna be predictable. And, um, as as ministers, as family members as friends, we need to be aware of this for people who that you know, I I remember when I was a pastor at a church, there was a woman whose husband died and hunted tons of support the first month, and the support just kept dropping and dropping and dropping. And she had a few friends who just stuck with her, and they just cast and they just ended because they knew they knew that she would have some bad days. They knew they knew that that the bad days would keep coming and they would be spaced out more. But they would keep coming. That's right, e Think about also this biblical passage in job. Job is is this beautiful story of a man who suffers greatly and experiences grief and engages in grief, sadness in his life with God. And he has these friends who come in the midst of his loss. He just lost his Children and they and they sit with him and they're just there, there, present with him and it's wonderful. And then they start speaking and it's a terrible it's possible that it was trying to figure out, like, why this bad stuff happened to him and trying it like, and they're blaming
him for it. And
there eventually that's where they get. Eventually they get like, this is your fault on. I think you know, I think there is a lesson there in for us is that our presence is very powerful and our words are insufficient to make it better. Yeah, they're time. One words are necessary, but our words were insufficient to make it better.
Yeah, that's right. Yeah. You know, speaking of job that you know there is one. Ah, there's one point where you know, after the silence and natural God begins to reveal himself and ask him questions. There's a sense of enlightenment that job has, and it doesn't come from his friends. It comes from God, God himself, revealing himself and, um, and so often, you know, that's for me. That's part of I think, the stage of acceptance, right? It's acceptance, but being able to move forward towards enlightenment. And then later we see in jobs life that the restoration that happens, if that's where.
But there's an interesting feature to the restoration. So job loses. He loses his possessions. It is his kids. His kids die who was and is terrible in the restoration. Uh, job doesn't get answers as to why this happened. If he doesn't get that, all he gets is this encouragement to trust God in the midst of it, and in the restorations, he gets twice as much stuff as he's ever had. It doesn't get twice as many kids. He gets the same number of kids that he had previously because because kids cannot be replaced and there's this. There's a sense of, you know, So he has twice as many candles. He has twice, many horses, twice as many sheep. I don't remember what the animals are. He's got twice as many of all of those things. But if you look, he doesn't have twice as many sons and daughters. It's almost as this little biblical nod to the absence of those Children. There's for job. There's going to be a permanent absence of those sons of those sons and daughters who can never be replaced. And there is something in grief where grief is an absence is this is this gap is permanent gap that's always going to exist and that actually can't be filled with anyone else because people are so unique. You know, when I went off to college, my parents were sad about it, but they got a new dog, and I actually got like they basically be like baby pictures of them with the dog, like the dog in a little like red wagon wearing a scarf. I'm like you replace me with the doc that, like that is that's But you can never actually replace someone that you've really loved.
You can. That's why if we knew the rest of jobs stories, even with all all the restoration that Ah, God gave him, I'm sure that there are moments he still grieved the loss of his of his first set of Children. You know, I'm sure there were moments that that is hard as well. And so the restoration, of course, is what he receives back. But I think part of it, too, is, um, he's restored to faith and hope in God. He begins to see God in a different light, not his own past mental models of who, how he defined God but who? How God defined himself to Joe. And so that's part of the for me. That's the hope in job is the restoration that we can have in our relationship with God. It often gets hurt in our times of loss. We start asking questions and wondering Why did things happen? Often there are no clear answers or responses to,
I mean the answers. The answers that the Lord gives job is essentially You will not understand this. Yeah, you know, he stay like there's like, Where were you when I made all this stuff? And you have the power to do all this stuff and the answer to those? I wasn't born yet. I wasn't around. And no, I don't have the power and and that's and that's where Jobs says. He's like All right, I need to trust I'm not gonna understand it. But I can't trust well and our later we're pulling this threat a little bit. So grief changes us like like we wear different people on the other side of an experience that causes us to grieve and hours to explore that for a few minutes when you think about your own experiences of grief like what's been your experience with grief?
Yeah, well, I think for me. I remember, you know, for me between the year 2000 to 2006 I think 2001 beginning with 9 11 2006 For me, it was this. It was just years and years of death and grieving in my life, right? One of my mentors within diversity, Alex Innocent, died suddenly, and that was it's a terrible loss for me, and I think for all of InterVarsity. Our church, uh, was falling apart. It was a church plan that I helped to start. Uh, my son got into a horrific sledding accident, was in intensive care for 3.5 weeks, and Doctors Day today didn't know if he was gonna survive. Was was the They're the worst time. Those three weeks were by the worst times of my life. I have my father than died that same year, in September of a sudden massive heart attack. And then, a few years later, my best friend died, who helped us to love to start a church. So it was, This is I thought I was getting over grieving all of a sudden, it so they knew to grieve. And so I felt like I was in this constant state of grieving for like, no five years, six years, and it was a a very difficult time. But I think what happened during that season was that, you know, you mentioned earlier I feel like God began to, um redefine himself for me. I think for me, I you know, I've never I have never spent a night in the hospital. I've never been sick enough that I've had to spend even right mouse. But thank God for that. But in some ways, I prided myself that God was my protector. He was the one just gave me health and made me whole and and, uh, provided from And have these, you know, almost. He's on this understanding with God. God is only doing my protector and provided for me. Then you would be my God and
God justice, like magical agreement.
Yeah, that's right. That's right. I'll serve you. You protect me Will be OK. And that was totally crushed, you know, And the ways that I defined God, some of those definitions were just totally crushed. And so I had to let go of them. Realize you know who is coming. And oh, do I do I like this? Got to do I want to serve him. And it did cause a crisis of faith me for a season. Um And so when my son survived and over, you know, uh, survived off his injuries. Um, there was some bitterness and resentment, you know? God, why do we have to go through this? But then then was months and years later where God should be, you know, or letter. You're mad at me. But I saved Your son is actually alive. You didn't lose your living in your elected with Mia's If I took your son away and I didn't and I realized that there was the prayers of others in my church. People from InterVarsity who loved me, who sustained me the time when my face my face was crushed and I couldn't pray I couldn't turn to God. And so I think that's what often happens in grieving. God redefines himself for us. In true aways, we may not like it. Well, like Joe, we can accept it and work with it to kind of move on in new ways. In our relationship with the Lord,
we grow up a little bit. We mature. I mean, these experiences grief are part of I think d a. Carson is the one who said, All you have to do is live long enough and you'll suffer. I think this is an inevitability to it. Um, and you know, I think Askew think about kind of grieving as part of growing up. It also causes us to reflect a little bit on, as we were growing up. Like what? What sort of experiences of grief did we have? What sort of insights into grief did we see around us? So you and I, we both grew up in these kind of Latino families. Um, you know, my family's mixed ethnic background, Strong Latino influence, even on the kind of white parts of my family. You know, I'm curious. Kind of as a child. How did you see adults express grief around you when you were? Did you have any memories of that?
I do. When I was 12 years old, my my grandmother on my mother's side not died. And, uh, that was there's a really difficult time, you know, family. Ah, for some really good reasons. I was her favorite. Uh, it's those along stories dignity right now, But but I really loved her, and I was very close to her. Uh, I had one brother and three sisters and a final estate, but reference lived upstairs from us. We were kind of co owners and Obama home. So I One thing I do remember is how how our family responded from that day on for weeks or even leaving up to a month We had family around us, and there was this something so powerful it it was almost like I didn't have time to agree, because people there was so much support around the that and I loved it. I loved having a family while people hadn't seen in a while. People coming around. And so I think that is a real strength, not canary, and I think many cultures have. That is a real strength, the strength of family when there's loss. So I remember that
I really, in some ways it's like putting a cast on your arm when it's broken. Is it is it gives you this this kind of outside infrastructure that gives you space Teoh get strong again. Teoh Heel toe to process unit for your just as a cast gives your arm space to do what it needs to do to get better your community and goes right can do that. Uh, everything that Ah, um, there's also a way. I don't know if this has been your experience, but in my family there's been this experience where when the family comes around, it's also wayto honor the person who we lost is kind of like this is This is what? Yeah. I don't know if your you know what you call it our way LA or what? You know, like, this is what a way I would want us to do you want, right? And we honor her Not by not, uh, dissolving as a family unit, but instead,
you know, together trade. That's right. And you know where we were Catholic families. So when the mother men reason waas you know, after after the wake and the burial, You know that Ah, we had, I think was nine days. There was, uh uh uh ba helio There was a name for it. Seems like you're remembering. Um oh, gosh. Uh uh, I remembered in a minute. Yeah, you know, we're Catholic, And so with union is like nine days of prayer. You pray the rosary and I guess it's related to kind of praying your loved one in tow. Heaven, your findings into the axe of the deeds that need to be done to look somebody into from program. True to have, uh, so you know, it's a Protestant, and I don't this really home to that anymore. But there was something that happened beyond just praying the rosary. There was family around from nine Days Street we ate, you know, we ate dinner together. We talk. Four year old relationships were restored, people saw each other. And it was the same people that came throughout the name nine days. So we had a chance to build on something from those prayer times.
So you're the religious structures amplified the family connections and the family connections gonna fill the religious structures. And they kind of worked together where the kind of institutional practices of your faith created space for for yes. Saying an engagement. Yeah.
Yes, it did. Did well that I'm Yeah, I remember. You know, some of those relationships are still going strong today, and I think they started up again from those times of family being together. Uh, and this is post, uh, host the bureau, because often way have family during the wake and funeral burial that. But then quickly people get back to their lives, and all of a sudden, that's when you feel the emptiness, the loneliness, uh, and that's where that for state of denial and loneliness really come into play. But we're able to go that back or we'll bed. Um, because of the strength of that religious, uh, you know, tradition.
So you were 12 then you are no longer 12. Your several years past that at this point. So
here's a few years. A
few years? A few years. Eso so kind of fast forward into the next millennia. What are some ways that that experience of grief and in your childhood shapes the way you grieve now or support people is they
agreed? Yeah, yeah, yeah, that's so I make it, um you know, personal policy that if somebody in my family guys, I'm gonna be there making every effort to be there or somebody ate somebody that I love that I won't with, um, somebody one of their family members size. I really make an effort to be here. That's important to me again. That's the ministry of presence, right? Like you think that being present during that time? You know, there are so many other family members of people that people don't even notice you. That's not true. People remember who came to the wake who was at the funeral, who stuck around. And, um and so that's something you know, because I have seen how important is for me to have family around. Our friends allowed. And it's remember, you know, when my father died, my my supervisor? Yeah. Uh, no. It was very busy, a VP. And And what could have been easy for her to continue to do her work, But she takes time out to be president, and I'll never forget that. And that happened as well. With my pastor, Pastor Robert Cole. You just never forget. Never forget what this person really cared about me. Because they need times. And, uh, it matters. It matters.
Yeah. Yeah. I mean, now, years and years later. Almost 20 years later. You still remember that? You probably don't remember a single thing they said, But you remember that they were there.
I do. That's right. That's right. Yeah. I don't remember what they said. I just remembered, you know, their their hugs. Ah, there their tears with me. Their empathy, those in things. I remember their faces. Yeah,
yeah, yeah. But our grief takes place inside this larger story of our life and our community. So were talking earlier about Barrett's experience of grief and that happening in the midst of this pandemic. It doesn't happen in a vacuum, right? The same thing happens for us, you know, it's for grieving. You know, the our experiences of grief are tied to other things that are happening in our life of the things that are happening in our community. Um, yeah, I think it's really important for us to be able to set our grief inside this larger story. And the larger story that is most important for us to set our grief inside is the story of the Bible. So I would love for us to take a little bit of time to talk about some biblical images of grief. So we've already shared a couple of them. But I wonder if you have any additional insight. Where do we see grief show up in biblical narratives?
Sure. Yeah. Well, I'll tell you, I think for me um uh the songs is ah is a place. You know, if you look at Mucha David's life you see that e he was He became king. But he suffered a great deal of the hands off the first Qing Qing Song And ah, you see that grief? You see the pain you see his suffering through that? Not just with that, but, you know, problems that he had with his son Absalom, and and different losses that he had in his life.
There's a fantastic story, if you're if people aren't aware of it, that that absolute story is a is a great image of grief. So quick recap. Absalom is Davidson. He runs a coup. It is gonna take over the kingdom from David and is trying to have David killed. And so David ends about in the wilderness, and his warriors are fighting against Absalom and his troops. And he tells, he tells his warriors, Don't don't hurt the boy. Don't hurt. Absolutely. At this time, as limbs a grown man, you know he's done terrible things like he's not a boy. But in David's eyes, you still a boy and one of David soldiers kills absolute and David cries out Absalom, Absalon! My son, my son and which should have felt like a victory in terms of the politics of Israel at the time. You know that David just regained his throne instead? Is this season of mourning because the king is grieving?
Yeah, trying. That's right. Yeah, it says he was overcome with emotions, burst into tears. And then some of his last words are If only I had died instead of you. So here's his kind of his enemy, right? His son has become his enemy, and, you know, like you're saying, you know, he's just he's just overcome with emotion with sorrow is the death of his son. But but militarily and politically was a victory for him, you know. But he didn't take it. Is that was, was the relationship meant more to him than the political of this truth.
When there's this tenderness in David that shows up again and again in the biblical narrative that that I think it's it's good for David when David is soft hearted, because when he's not, you know when he's you know, he has this whole interaction with Naval and Abigail, and he's gonna go kill this guy because he's been insulted by him. And you don't like, uh, your IA. He has your riot killed, and it feels no remorse over it. And, yeah, like click when David's not tenderhearted, it's terrible for him, and it's terrible for the people around him that's ringing and there is something about maintaining. Ah, the sort of heart, that congrats that I think is very important for us in our life. With God.
Yeah. Let me give you an example of how visceral his responses home, how emotional his responses from sent this from some 31 9 and 10. He says, Be merciful to me award for I am in distress. My eyes How weak, uh, with sorrow, My shoulder and body with Greece, Uh, my Lai is consumed. My life is consumed by anguish and my years by growing My strength fails because of my affliction and my bones grow weak. So it seems like every part of him is affected by the grieving that he's going through. And it dumb. It's a very physical explanation. What he's going. No. So But, you know, this is not This is not, um, you know, this is very common. This is not that this is not the exception for for day good or the Psalms. But this is really what's happening throughout the Psalms. And, uh, and so you know, So that's an example. I think that's there's images. There is a typical narrative. People like Moses, Uh, when you look at people like me that not done that was David. But also when you look at when date when Moses died or when Joseph died, you know, Genesis, you know, there were 30 60 70 days of mourning that happened. It was it was connected to time. We grieved people and you gave time to move on. I think that's something for for maternity, that horsemen, very that we need to learn is that grieving. You don't have this little window for grieving. Grieving is something that's the text, days and months, even maybe even years for the grieving tip. I think so. There's that, you know, we talked about jobs as well on the joke. Here's the terrible news of all of his loss. It says Job stopped and tour his role in grief that he shaved his head and fell to the ground to worship. Let me let
me pause for a second there. Yeah, so tours Robe shaved his head. Can we talk a little bit about why? Because it happens repeatedly throughout the scriptures, where someone in grief does thes things to display their grief to the world with their clothing with their head with your new, not just their emotional expression, but, yeah, send signals. Why would someone do that? I
think you know, it's it's part of. It's the way we send signals to others that I am not in a good state, you know, for, you know, Puerto Rican tradition to remember when my grandmother died. I think my mom wore black for a year. Are you close to a year? It's a part of this to say, You know, I'm not in my right place right now. There's a season or process. I'm grieving this loss. And so So I think those are signals that we send to others that, you know, I just I've experienced something devastating and you need to pay attention. You can't overlook this. You will not overlook me. It's
actually a service to the broader community. I mean, it just it extend that a little bit further toe toe. Let someone know I would. It helps me so much to know that someone is grieving because then I know how to be gentle with them like that. That kind of a bruised reed. He shall not break like that kind of. That's part of My desire in ministry is that I would be gentle and tender. I remember sitting down with a collar student once, and we're conducting an interview about a worship leader position in our InterVarsity chapter, and that morning her fiance had broken off their engagement and she didn't let us know. And so we're in the midst of this interview and she blows up on on us and, like the team that's interviewing her, so confused. We don't understand what's going on. We're a little bit hurt by it and a little bit mad at her for how she treated us. And look, maybe three or four hours later, I finally come around and I call her and she we were in Virginia at the time and she says, I'm on my way to Michigan. What? She tells me about what happened and that she's going home and she'll come back to school. Maybe, And I was just like, I wish I had known cause if I had known that she was grieving this tremendous loss than than I could have, I could have been a different person for her in that moment. And so when we share our grief with people in appropriate ways signal our grief. We actually are inviting them to play a role of healing and helping were protecting them against being jerks. Unintentional jerks.
Yeah, that's right. That's right. Yeah. You know, when my favorite passages in the New Testament which toss a bit about, uh, grieving loss from Second Corinthians Chapter one and it says, um, you know some mystery praise be to the God and father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the father of compassion and the God of all comfort, Not some comfort, all comfort who comforts us in our troubles so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves received from God. So the descriptors of God is he sees the the father compassion that God of comfort often and are grieving. That's not how we see God. We see him as the one as the originator of our grief and suffering, you know, the ones of blame. And here it's a God is a comforter. He comforts you so that one day you can be in a position, Um, having been comforted by God to now pass, I comfort on to somebody. Oh,
yeah, yeah That's an important teaching about grief that actually we have to receive comfort and or to be able to give comfort. And so if you never allow yourself to grieve, then you never allow yourself to receive. If you don't grieve, if you don't grieve, you can't receive. If you don't receive, you can't get right like there's this you like. I can kind of hear the preacher in my head, right saying like, You know, if you don't grieve, you can't receive right Like a rhymes, It must be well,
it's because my wife, she she could tell based on, you know, she shares for grieving with others. If somebody has experienced the loss of a loved one, you know she's a massage therapist, said Google. And so she'll share a times. And she she is a very palatable, palatable difference between somebody who's lost somebody who can then comfort her because they've they've been comforted, often by God or by others a supposed to somebody who's never been comforted, so they don't know how the comfort, how toe have embassy. So um so she knows that. But I think she's also where to be gracious towards those who maybe don't know what a comfort yet, you know, that's where we've got to be aware of the incident sensitivity. We need people who are insects in our grieving, and we just have to understand that, um, do not be put off or to not keep that those those statements or insensitivities from keep us from the grieving we need to do.
Yeah, well, you know, one thing that's that's really central to my theological thinking Can we take up maybe a little bit of, Ah, a few logical turn here is is that when I start to think about God, I always try to go to Jesus first. And to think through it is if he is the image of the invisible God, If Jesus is, is how we see God most clearly. Yeah, like I think there are all kinds of ways we describe God that he's, you know, immortal, invisible God, only wise, that kind of thing. He's under president omnipotence, a mission. But in times of our grief, I think there's something very important about connecting with Jesus himself in his incarnation in this physical life in his relationships. So I'm interested to know kind of Orlando from your experience with Scripture. Like, how does the Lord engage the grieving? Like, where do you see Jesus engage the grieving?
Sure. Yeah, well, of course, that are the most famous places. Um, probably John 11. You know, when Jesus, here's news of Lazarus, you know, being sick and come on his deathbed. He kind of weights a little bit, cause that is about to show forth his power through his son and and, you know, But when he gets there, you know, he he's overwhelmed by the sorrow of, uh, Martha and Mary. You know, the pain that they they were experiencing the loss of their son. They didn't know yet that Jesus was gonna praise him from the dead. And even even knowing that Jesus was gonna know that he was in a raised Lazarus, he still wet, right? It says Jesus wept. Shortest person, the Bible. Right. But, like maybe one of the most impactful the fact that Jesus, um, you know, hey, Boozer talks about his experience temptation in every way, but was without sin the experience, all of the emotions of a human being because he was fully divine and fully human till here he's read being, and it's a heartfelt lost that he's feeling not just for Lazarus is death, but for the loss of other people in the family that he loved but Mary and Martha And that's is very evident that we don't have a God who's got of comfort and compassion on We see the Jesus that he was, Somebody who felt emotion, felt loss also tell deep sorrow for those for those he loves. Um, yeah, I think you see it also the garden of Yosemite, right? He's He's kind of weeding for his own life, you know, He he knows what awaits and be saying, Lord, if there's any other way, take this cup from you and there's ah, this it is, ah, suffering there not only of what's coming for him, but also probably the relationships of love that he had oh, forged with the's 12 men and understand. But the other 70 disciples and followers who are around was a whole crueler people supporting Christ. And I'm sure he felt that the sorrow of the loss of those relationships that were coming
well and and and there's a really interesting thing there about anticipatory grief because I feel like that's anything that were that that's part of the soup that were swimming in. And the midst of this global pandemic is that we were kind of looking at the curves and we're looking at the future, and we're looking at the losses that we're going to incur. You people who are not gonna be ableto experience college graduation, people who are not gonna be able to experience. Maybe they're fall semester as a freshman way. Both work in college, campus ministry says part of our world. But we just We also administered in churches as we've just come off of Easter and Easter, where we weren't together over Easter, at home and, you know, and preparing for Easter. There was grief even before Easter hit. And we don't even know everything that we're going to lose in the months and years ahead. And that that loss of knowing what the future is going to look like Not that we ever really knew what the future was gonna look like. But we felt like we did. We're in the middle of this disruption, and yes, So how do you navigate that? This isn't one of our one of our questions. And what was shift gears after this? But like, Justin, how do you navigate that? Like I'm grieving something that hasn't happened yet.
Yeah. Yeah, well, I think we I think we have imagination. So you knows we're hearing the news. Mm. We can anticipate that. You know what? I go through this for another month or in mid April. Right now, it's, you know, may be looking for another month or two months for college ministry. Right there. Their schools that already canceling the fall semester. So there's things some things we know, other things we don't know. And so there is There is this loss of our normal our past, normal western use, the turns and a new normal right we have toe. There's an adaptation that needs to happen. And when it never there's learning or chains, that happens. Part of it is a death of what Waas That we grieve. We agree. The easy times. We could be with friends, right? You know, I said play tennis with a pastor, a friend of mine on Monday mornings. I really miss that Mrs French, Mr Tennis, but also miss him. You know what I missed the friendships that were forging. So there are some things that are just that have been lost that we're not probably not going to get back. Some of that could be even employment. You know, millions of people have lost their jobs and probably jobs that they actually loved. And I appreciate it. We're good at, uh, I have a friend of mine, good friend of mine who lost his job. And now he's I kind of find another another job similar to it in a very difficult season. Um, on this was a job that he had for, I think, in over 20 years. So there are some things that we're not gonna get. Um, and so we grieve that and then we grieve also, like you said, what the future holds, which doesn't look promising unnecessarily. And so, in essence, for me is a person of faith as a Christian, that's where you know, there there's their facts and things that are happening on the ground. But then there are greater truths, biblically, about the presence of God, the promises of God, um, the comfort and the support that God gives the victory that we have in Christ. Jesus, you know, as Christians we celebrate the fact that that one day we won't have to grieve anymore that, um you know, our that our tears, we won't have to shed any more tears because, God, very presence of God, very person of God will be with us. And, um And so there's that whole the promises that Jesus brings that now he's destroyed and conquered death, right? That doesn't have a sting anymore. How he did it doesn't have power of us anymore. Although we experience death now in the flash, this is a future future hope of eternity that Christ now brings because of his death and his resurrection. Speaking of Easter, that's where I think it's so difficult for Christians. With Easter Zack. It's the pinnacle of what we believe in the victorious work of Christ on the Cross, right? He says. You know that saying passage, I think in John, you said I am the resurrection of the body. The one who believes in me will live even a guy 11 leaving will never time you believe this. And so it's a question they asked the sisters and the question that we will have to answer. Do we believe that when we truck put our faith and trust in Jesus for the forgiveness of our sins that, um that in terms of this the spiritual part of us will live on for eternity? And I think that's the hope that can carry us and sustain us and the deeper truth that supersedes all of the other crises and disruptions that we're going through right now, which are very real and very painful with real losses? A real Greek. But it's not the whole
picture, you know, There's something There's something toe are knowing that grief is not our final condition, which gives us the freedom to grieve now to say, OK, I know that at one point the deer's we're gonna be wiped away, so it's OK to cry now. I know at some point this absence I'm feeling is going to be filled and is going to be healed, and so it's OK for me to feel it. Now I know that, um, the decline that I'm feeling or the vulnerability that I'm feeling, uh, will not be my permanent state, that there's life on the other side of death. So so I don't have to hide from my vulnerability or fear my vulnerability or be overwhelmed by my vulnerability. I can actually actually lean into it because I know that that there's there's resurrection on the horizon. Yeah, I think I want to talk to you a little bit about deferred grief because I think this'll kind of idea circle back to an earlier conversation that they were free to grieve. Like I'm curious. Orlando is to what happens? Tow us like what happens to your soul. Like when I was inside you. What, like what happens to us if we don't grieve? Yeah. Oh, man. Well,
let me tell you, I'll tell you a little bit of story. When my father died, he died in 2000. It's 2000 September 2003 about two years after 9 11 September 10th 2003 and, ah, a massive heart attack. We weren't expecting it. We know he has heart was weak, but we didn't anticipate if he would die so suddenly like that. And, um so So after he died, um, one of my sisters was so struck by his death that she just couldn't talk about it. He couldn't talk about his death for his life. She just couldn't talk about him, you know? Yeah. And so we all trying Teoh respect that. And so we probably didn't talk about her that as much as we could have or should have you But, um what it felt waas that because we didn't was deferred grieving. Almost Faith felt like we erased the personally. My dad had never existed, you know, because we weren't talking about and it just It's so horrible. Ho ho, to grieve. Somebody's to say they were alive. They had an impact. I loved them. I missed them, Dammit! You know, I wish they were here, but there's a grappling with that. But even in imitation, sometimes it's the complaints before God, right? That a very meal. And you see that even a grief observed with C. S. Lewis, you know their real complaints. Um, later in the book, he comes back and tries to come to terms with some of them. But that's what grief is. It's getting hurt. Our feelings or emotions hurt. And when we couldn't do that, I felt like we had just erased my father, and it was it was it was felt like it was worse than death. It's not only memory that we that he died, but he never existed. I don't know if that makes any is
Yeah. So you didn't You didn't just lose him. You lost all of those touchpoints with your siblings that he enabled. That's right. And those touchpoints could have lasted beyond him, right? I couldn't like. I mean, I have this with my brothers where, like, we'll talk about, you know, our mom and our dad and tell stories about our childhood and things like that. Now my parents, fortunately, are still living. But I can't imagine my relationship with my siblings if we weren't allowed to mention our parents like her parents are like the reason were connected with each other because it is Lee exactly like touch
poems. Points are stepping stones right? And of our lives. Without them, we don't know where we're supposed to stab and more small sitting by my father. Later, we realised early size. I think I realized under my siblings would agree, but he he was like the one who brought levity enjoying to our family, you know, because it zz toe get into discussions or problems, but he somehow had a way of making things fun. Uh, he was just kind of joy personify, You know, he loves singing. He loved playing his guitar. He loved parties. He just loved great bringing people together. You know, it's like how the typical Puerto Rican man, you know, and and well, and we lost that we lost that joy from many years because we couldn't captured back because we couldn't talk about him.
You couldn't even acknowledge that you had lost that function in your family. I mean, if you took it if you took it, uh, and just kind of flipped it into something even more practical, like Imagine that your dad was the only person who took out the garbage in the family. Only person who did that was like the ads job and out of grief of the loss of him. You just a za family agreed that you're never gonna talk about garbage. It was gonna acknowledge garbage. You're not gonna look like garbage. It's so the company can just starts filling up overflowing and feeling the kitchen. Yeah, but you can't talk about garbage because talk about garbage is to remember, Dad. And remember, Dad is painful. Yeah, before you know, the whole kitchen is full of garbage, and the whole apartment is full of garbage. Little houses full of Garden City is full of garbage. It just it. Ah, like we need each other in these times. And you know what? One of things that family systems theory teaches us is that when the family system changes, like when a person in the family system changes or is removed, the whole family needs to re negotiate. They're places. If I was really, I imagine that you're experiencing that with the loss of Dell. But now is that you know something that she did for the family and that that on the other side of her death, that thing is not being done. And so other people are having toe fill in and you've having to find other ways to to fill that need or you're doing without. And that's hard also. And you know,
Yeah, absolutely. Well, I'm with Debbie, You know, she was a special needs person, and so so much of our family life center around leading her needs, and we we were able to define ourselves right? And I get that meaning over home that. But when she was gone, all I said, Now we had this extra time that we didn't have before. We gotta find new meaning. What defines us is you have to think, and there is is just said that's part of the gaping hole, right? That happens when somebody tides and we are. You know, I think we're doing a better job than we dad talking about her loss with that means for us trying to come to terms with it. Um, so that's been helpful, But yeah, you're right. No, but somebody's gone. They the, um, mess with the family. I was Family defines itself.
Yeah, well, and I've observed this thing that happens on the other side of death for families. A lot of times a tremendous number of look logistics that have to be attended to funeral services, life insurance, death certificates, burials like logistics, logistics, logistics and often in the family. There's like one person or maybe a couple of people who end up on point for all of the logistics stuff when and they respond to the loss by doing, and I just do that do they do? They do, they dio. And I'll be honest with you, Orlando Like when the campuses have closed down, there's grief throughout InterVarsity on college campus closures. There are some of us who have been tasked to do ministry todo keep the wheels spinning and to keep the doors open to keep connections live. And we're going out. We're just doing, we're doing, we're doing, we're don't doing and we're deferring grief. You know that there's just interest accruing. It's like getting if the grief is getting bigger and bigger and bigger, the longer it's deferred. So, like, how do we know when it's time to move past that logistics and that survival? And then to turn to grief like, How do we know? How do you not get stuck and religious
dear? Yeah, that's a good question. And I tell you, you know, in families have some of those, like just six people in those moments early on, it's This is so important and necessary because it does allow other people to agree. But it can't be a substitute for Green. It's not like, Oh, I'll do just expressive, increasing. It's like, No, you're gonna do the logistics now, but the grieving has to come later at some. And I think when things settle, part of it is is creating margins for so, you know, staff We could just keep going and going filling it. But at some point, we have to decide. No, you know what? I'm gonna take a distressed state today. I'm gonna take to just rest days, and I'm just gonna think about how much I missed my students or that lost opportunity we have, because we're not gonna have chapter camp, you know, in May this year, or or those students, I was disciple Ng who just started coming new Christians, who now we know no longer connecting with us digital media or something. It comes a real loss. Isn't at some point. We've gotta give ourselves We gotta make the margins to take the time to group. It's almost like an intentional choice that we make to say tomorrow and grief him on. That sounds very, um, abnormal, cause it seems like we they just seem so just overtake. You
know, man, I'm a I'm a type a person. I'm a J on the Myers Briggs. I'm like now I put it in my outlook calendar. Yes, yes, no. But that's good that there's some wisdom there that actually ah, in the biblical narrative there are these festivals, and some of them are designed around grief. They're designed around lamenting, are still grieving and eat it like there is. There is something to be said to setting aside that intentional time. That's a very wise word.
Well, and yeah, that's right. And then the other two is just, um um, you know, sometimes we're very good at swallowing our grief, and sometimes we need help to get their, you know, Uh, you know where the course is? My wife is in right now. What's called brief share, of course, is fantastic. Yeah, it's a Christian based, you know, program, but they go deep. I think it's like 12. Oh, wanting their 15 week program of you know they're doing it online. Not she's meeting on June with sisters. Have another Benin just talk about. Go through the books, see videos. Sometimes we can't do it on our own. You know, we don't have the strength to, or other people have gone through it like you were saying they could comfort us now our guy house because they've been. And so sometimes we have to acknowledge you know what? I need help. I think that's where supervisors could come in. No and say, you know what? Let's talk about this, Will you feeling? I know some of our it's just supervisors have been doing more of this, you know, we're meeting and then also, but taking the first hour of have two hours to talk about when you're feeling you struggling but questions you What were you afraid of? The states and what those are important things to begin to get this losses that we're feeling
well. And I think there may be two pieces of that that I would love to highlight a little bit more. So one of those is if you're in a position of leadership, then your you do have a responsibility for the emotional care of your people. So if you see someone that you're leading and they are not grieving and you feel like it would be not, that they should be grieving, but that you're concerned that they're stuck that they're deferring grief, um, toe ask to probe to poke to create that space if they want to use it, they may not want you. They may not want to have that conversation with you. Is there ministry leader, whether you're a supervisor or you're just a leader in their ministry, So that's one thing. Second thing is a you've modeled this so well. Orlando would love to hear you talk about this a little bit. Is that those of us who are leading need piers around us? We may not have someone above us and the organization or above us in the ministry. Who's gonna have those conversations with us? And we needed years who conduce that. So you have this right? You have a group of beers who you know you can share your grief with. Who will ask you questions about the state of your emotional life and your soul and and again,
oh, absolutely have been meeting with this group called the Latino Leadership Circle. Uh, probably since, like, 2006 or seven, you know, during that period that I read after that period that I went through. In fact, there was that group that really helped me to kind of book. You work through the grieving process, Uh, because we gather and the whole idea was not to study a passage or resume book, but each person would get time, riel, time to share, You know, their personal update. Ah, what ministry struggles and were having what they needed. Prayer for where? Where they were doubting in their feet. Nothing. Waas uh uh, off limits to talk about. So it really was a support group for pastors and ministry fingers. And yeah, it was the very thing that I for me helped me to kind of get at some of those places of grieving that I probably I wasn't doing very well at myself. I think often from men, Uh, you know where sometimes we're not as in touch with our emotions. And we need people to prompt this. You know, the people who have been most helpful for me and my grieving or people who say not only how you doing but tell me more where I noticed that he started crying a little bit when you talked about your mom and this story that or whatever, Why did that happen? They just don't let me off the hook. And I feel like I really have to like think now and but that's that's part of mystery of presence is being able to be listening, be attentive. And I think it's actually one of the challenges of, um, being on video calls together, right. But your present, you know, you can hold somebody you can call their hand. You can, you know, support them physically. There's with their bodily gestures or emotions of embassy. And I think with social media with zero, we have toe figure out how to be attempted in a way because it's so easy. Teoh, you know, got my my tablets here. I've got my computer here, my phone here and it's very easy to look like we're distractive. It's our calls now for a new level of attentiveness over a video call that we've never had before. If we want to practice empathy in the Ministry of Presence via this digital divide,
well, I'll give you a great example. For example, um, as we're in conversation over Zoom my instinct, Orlando is toe look atyou on my screen. My camera is not here. My camera is up. And to the right of where you are finding was over here. So if I'm looking at your eyes on the screen. It looks like I'm not paying attention to you, kind of. That's right. We could be staring right at your eyes on my screen. It is's doesn't feel completely like I'm connected with you. Hey, so so what's Let's do that. Let's let's skip to that section of the interviews. Societies everywhere have these communal elements of grief. And, like I want us to talk about what it looks like for us to translate those communal elements of grief ways We support each other in times of grieving, meaning into this time of social distancing into this environment where we're at home. So we've already talked about kind of your cultural background and some ways your community typically ministers to a grieving person. Um, yeah. So as you think about kind of the family being together, that infrastructure of your religious community of some of the rituals around death and dying, and funerals and grief you that you shared about earlier you what are things that a grieving person receives So, like, fundamentally try to strip them, strip out the elements like, what are the core elements of what those people receive? Yeah, yeah, Yes, I'm trying to
think Karina Lee, right? Thought this power, having people around you conversations happen. They know that, um, the support of the presence that we've talked about. I think there's a way to capture some of that Thea's Umar sky or whatever. For example, let's see that some you know that you have a call with somebody who's grieving, who's lost their job or her struggling Some. We have three or four friends who call them, and the sole purpose of them it call is to see how you're doing. What's going on. We're all here for you. We want to know You can't hide for us. What are you feeling? We heard that you know this is going on. Um, we just, you know, tell us. And so there's a sense of a that communal support. It's like, wow, you know, like, but I'm going to go around and she, you know, like we like we do in small groups, right within a varsity years, our Bible studies, everybody has a chance. What if what if it's the call is solely for that person? Be? That's a way of saying you're so important us that there's five of us on this call because we care about you. There are things like said that we have to kind of be captivated by and trying to figure out, like, digitally what's the way that we could capture community, for example?
So So if I were gonna tried translate that a little bit. So one of the things that happens is that the grieving person gets to be the center of attention, and that's the community comes around and worry it's around that person. Yes. So So just even ask that question of how do we translate Orlando being the center of attention into an online experience? You more? It's a grieving, you know? What does it look like to have her be the center of attention? And and, uh, yeah, I think that's that's really insightful, Orlando. Um, and to just name that, this is what we're doing.
This is this is what we're doing. This is what this call is. And we're gonna ask you questions, and we're gonna pray for you. And, um, you know, we're gonna send you something in the mail. Were calling your next Wednesday and going to give you Send your gift package that you're gonna open during our call during our during a call and you're opening in there is that there's a prayer book and there's ah, cross. You can hold him. We've all got the same cross, and we're holding that together. Uh, we had toe just let your imagination run Wild of how we could show support in a two dimensional way via you know, because because they know and then also words with somebody loses something of value. There are no words. But now we're in a place where all we have his words by, you know, we don't have hugs or kisses or holding of hands. None of that. All we have is words and our expressions, his metal visually. And so we've got to do better at our words. It's not enough to say I'm sorry for your loss. Yeah, but you've got to go deeper. We've gotta be able to take that to three or four levels deeper. I'm sorry for your loss. Tell me what are you feeling right now? What? What do you need? Prayer. What are you missing most about your loved one? What's been the hardest for you? Um, I want to send you something. What would be helpful for you need? It's like that's when you know people who are pastoral, who are, you know, spiritually. Directors have that ability, that innate ability to go deep with somebody and feel loved and cared for. And the person didn't preach at you. You didn't didn't give you Bible over since, you know, all they said is what's going on? Tell me more. I care about you listening. And this this this great great value.
Yeah. And, you know, I would maybe encouraged if you imagine, like, the letter z of you kind of your coming in from outside, maybe approach the source of loss for people. You know, it's it's so, you know, said toe ask Kind of. You don't How are you? How are you doing on the other side of Debbie's death today? Yeah, and you might get an answer or you might not are you might get kind of a high level answer and then to go deeper and to be like, um, you know, and you don't like, how's your mom doing with it? You know? And so you're still you're not. It's not as personal but it still affects the person person you're going to go down down the sea and the circle back and you say, How are you doing with how your mom's doing with it? And, you know, like, How are you? So to think through your I remember having this experience at a funeral years ago when I was a pastor. This guy had lost his 20 year old daughter, and it's devastating, just completely devastating to the whole family to us as a church. We prayed for her and, you know, she still died. And, um, I remember being at the the wake afterwards, and you don't have this little tiny ham sandwiches like the the other, like yeah, yeah, just saying Like, I bet you can't eat 30 of these and I'm like, Sure I can. They were eating these little ham sandwiches in a church reception hall, and we're talking about his daughter. And then we're talking about a project he was doing around his house and they were talking about his daughter again. And then we're talking up, which is zigzagging around, and I think that's something that's good to be aware off, as were the distance is that? Ah, lot of times air distance connections air these quick hit connections. We're you know, we're gonna zoom call for 15 minutes, and it's for those 15 minutes to be so intense on the point of grief that we don't sig out a little bit. We don't zag out a little bit to create space to kind of catch our breath. It's something then, uh, that I observed years ago. Tyler Perry. You familiar with Tyler Perry? His movies? Yes. Yeah, he does this better than anyone I've ever seen. His movies. They have these moments of extreme intensity and sadness and pain. And then, yes, dream laughter and happiness and joy. And they take you sack into the pain. It's like this rollercoaster. Yeah, that's that's the sort of thing that you would get at a wake. Or that you would get when your cousin's air with you for nine days helping you grieve. And I think we need to find ways to have that with people who are grieving toe not just these one off touches, but but maybe even a like like, hey, could I give you call every day for the next week and we just talk for a few minutes?
Yeah, that's it. That's it. Because you don't know when, When? When The question is gonna want to talk. You know, uh, sometimes, uh, at a funeral are a wake or something. The person is not ready to talk. They're just trying to get through stuff. I think there's gonna be a trust relationship there, so I don't think anybody can ask anybody about grieving. But, you know, we're talking about people who trust you care about you people you care about. The relationship is there. Um, but, um, we're yet to be able to, um, you know, should t to go deep into to be creative. Yeah, me once, once a day for nine days, you know, you know often are zoom calls, right? Are there like meetings right there? Organized, like, a corporate way. You know, there's an agenda. There's a beginning. What if we used zoom on away? There were just gonna have breakfast together. You know, you get your me like at nine. And it would be like sitting across from somebody and there's no agenda. There's a psycho. You know how you do it. Really eating. It looks good. And in that there's a relationship building. There's opportunities to talk. Go deeper like this is the season for that. We've got to find me. Weighs one thing I appreciate. You see, sometimes in the news is, uh, people who, you know, they get out of the hospital and be able Come. Cancer isn't a corona virus. Nobody can come to your house is celebrate with you. So when you get home there, like 30 cars lined up people in it e
saw that story. I saw that story on the some good news show that John John Krasinski isn't share was the little kid. A little kid came home from the hospital. It was wonderful.
Still lies, right? And it's about just figuring out new ways to show love and affection and support. And we just have to get creative. And I think I think we'll get there. I think we can get there. But so
don't don't deny the power of being in person is what you're absolutely Yeah, time of social distancing. You can still you can still
do physical presence. Yes, that's right. Yes. So I was somebody locate my sister. Law came over and We had a TV for her. Her direct TV was on the fritz and were ableto, you know, stroke, hugs and kisses to learn to say hello and give her the TV and made a in the distance. But make the relation or connection.
Yeah, yeah, I'm almost picturing that, Um, that's movie scene where the guy's got the boom box and he's standing outside the girl's window and it's playing with your eyes like this. There's their opportunities for extravagant gestures of support. Yeah, you know, I'm thinking, I'm thinking What s So here's a question. Here's a question. I mean, I've got opinions on this. I'm sure you do. This is a thing. As a strategist, this is the question I'm asking, like, what new opportunities do we have to minister to the grieving Look what new opportunity we have now that we didn't have before or weren't aware of before. Like we can focus on what we lost. We lost the ability toe can sit shoulders, shoulder and kind of hug, But But what new opportunities do we have now that we're online?
Well, I mean, what are one new opportunity? Is that good? Just like this some corporate grieving that that happened, you know, experience that at 9 11 like the entire nation, right? Not just New York City with the entire nation was grieving. There was something about supporting one another in that that was really, really special, cause we're going through together in so many ways, people, we've all lost something during this time. You know, it could be, uh, you know, it's it's likely that many some of us are gonna lose actual people that we love from called scolded, you know, sickness. Others, like we're saying, have lost jobs or the fact that they couldn't you could have your graduation or something of value like that. So there's a corporate opportunity now to understand that we're all in a similar boat and are grieving, and therefore we can We can connect with each other at that level. Digital, you know, and just have ah, you know, corporate time of grieving will know by my set with my support group with you hysterical alarms, every missing about being together. What it's been hard about losing your job. What do you frustrated about what's making you angry? And it's a corporate tell name with that so it may not be necessarily just about one person who evening, but we're all in this together. Let's talk about it. Let's use the format structures that we have not to get it. That and I think it's possible we don't to do that. I mean, with zoom now, right? You can have all kinds of you know, there's tons of people on a one time thing. They could break up into smaller groups, you know, different discussion moves, talk about stuff. You have 30 people together and eight break off of lost jobs and living a talk and pray and support each other. You've got another five who've lost love ones, you know, And we're able to be at the hospital when they died and they're angry. And you you break off into them who you know. So there's stuff like that that could be very specific. Very target it. And, um, and B, that kind of support community toe.
Yeah, I think if I were to add one, um, I think there's also an opportunity for us to be consistently present with a few people. So you didn't wear, whereas the in the past you would show up for the funeral. Maybe you'd be there for the nine days and then, you know, as you said, or later, you go back, You go back to life the way it waas. Yeah, none of us air living life, the way it waas like that. They like I go back to life the way it was for months, right? Yeah. So if you do have someone who you're ministering to who has lost someone, you could make a decision. You know, I'm gonna call him every day for the next six months, and I'm just gonna quit. I'm just I'm just gonna do it. And that's gonna be my new normal more or you know what? I'm gonna reach out every week, and it's so I've For example, I have ah, friend. Who, doctor in the hospital. It r Dr in menace. Amount of stress. You and I are doing social distance. Bike writes. We get together and you know, so it like, you know, we maintain our distance from each other, but we ride bikes will ride bikes for an hour like never ridden a bike that long, right? You know? Yes. But here's the thing is So we've lived. We've been friends for 20 years and we've lived in the same city for the last six months. And in six months we saw each other twice. And in the last four weeks we've seen each other every week. Yeah, and there's this and there's this thing where, like, he's he's grieving the things he sing in the hospital, in the hospital system. I'm grieving the things that we're seeing in Campus Ministry. But this disruption has created an opportunity for us toe be together that it wasn't available. It really wasn't if it wasn't available two months ago, months ago, if he had reached out to me and said, Hey, do you try to ride bikes every week? Said I would love to, But no, it's not possible. I got too much is he? And I had asked him, he would have said, No, it's not possible. I've got too much going
on. Uh, yeah, it's a but one of things that we did, because we have time on our side now for church heading into Easter two weeks before we started up Watchman's prayer. No. Will you pray every day for 24 hours or two week span and
as a church as a church, not use it. I don't want anyone thinking, You know, Atlanta. Orlando's going on a 2nd 24 hour, just glowing in the dark
here. Oh, man, no, no. Yet as a
church, you band together.
Yeah. Yeah, we have two or three people who pray each hour. You know, um, off the day right. One hour of the day, Uh, four for 14 days. You know, each person takes different our for the group. Takes it. If no, that was wonderful, because we connected on a daily basis, and we're actually still were going into our third week. Now we're still praying, uh, daily. Together, we've got three groups, three daily career groups, you know, Remember years ago within a varsity have daily prayer meetings, you know, 5 30 in the morning are and 10 30 at night or something. You know, something really powerful about the fact that you were connecting with people on a daily basis. We were seeing each other regularly, and you were tracking with each other, and I think that's important and grieving. Is that somebody you know? Somebody's tracking with you and you can't hide from.
So So this is my strategist coming out here, right? I'm a pastor and a strategist, right? Yeah. So stay. Someone in your church suffers a loss a week from now. If they spent the last month praying every day with a group of two or three people, they will have built a deeper community around them than they had before. This thing. Yeah. So there's actually some ways in which engaging in spiritual practices, spiritual rhythms, spiritually community Now we actually could lay a foundation That helps us healthier experience of grief, more support in a time of grief. So there's a way in which we can minister to people who are grieving. There are also ways in which our ministry now it's gonna shape the experience of grieving for people three months from now, six months from now. A year from
now. Yeah, yeah, that's right. Yeah, It's almost like the are prominent ministry. Isn't Mitt Lens mental in this ministry Year old youth ministry, but its its grief ministry, right? It's what if this takes fronts understated at every church? Right. And that's what we're working through all the time because we're in a time of loss and disruption and confusion and death. Um,
so even if you're even if you're not talking about grief, you're talking about grief.
That's right. Yeah. Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, but, oh, how was my day? But it's infused with a day in the life off the Corona virus. But when? How that, you know, it begins this kind of shape, everything in their lives. It may not be true for the rest of our lives, but it could be true for the next six months. Dying once something, you know? Hopefully not, but it could. Well,
let me ask you, Orlando Aziz were kind of wrapping this up. Do you have a final word? Word of hope, Word of encouragement, A word of wisdom, if a final word on Greece.
Yeah, I guess my word is that, um you know, when you look at the whole of Scripture, Billy is leading towards the fact that, um um that you know what we've talked about. Death is destroyed. Jesus, Brains, life. Um, you know, Paul talks about, you know, his versus. Like if we live, we live for the Lord. If we die, we die. So whether we live, We're gonna belong to the Lord. So there's this relation or connection with God that we now have with Christ that living or dying, they do it in Christ. And for me, it's just a beautiful picture of remembering. Uh, you know what Jesus did for us on the cross? The fact that we have the comforter with us now and that we have a future hope of glory with Christ, Jesus, where we're sin and death and tears won't will be no more. And so it's kind of an overarching picture, right? It's That's the meta narrative that we that we want to be captivated all the time so that you know that you said we can't cry and weep and grieve now, knowing that, um, they got that this isn't gonna last forever, that the plan that God has for us is so much better than that we can long for for it there's a longing that I sometimes have for heaven that comes contextually out of what I don't have right now. But that's coming. And so I think for me. Um, you know, these are difficult times, but there may be easier in my relationship and my having a deeper journey and deeper No, with Raffaele, right? We talked about having a deep relationship with Christ, completely communing with him and laying that inform everything that we do in ministry. And I think this is a time when we can, even as Christians who go deep not in trip service s or stuff to do for the Lord but knowing the Lord loving the Lord feeling his love for us and letting the paper life with Christ of shape us now for the future.
Powerful words. You are not alone.
Yeah, that's right.