PRACTICING COURAGE IN THE WILDERNESS

Based on Living Compass “Practicing Courage with all your heart, soul, strength and mind”


“The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing … that is a friend who cares.”
Henri Nouwen

As many of us know, the weight of grief can be overwhelming. In its initial stages, grief can literally take our breath away. One way we can practice grace in the midst of grief is to be gentle and patient with ourselves as we begin to heal. The world will not necessarily know to extend grace to us when we are grieving, and so it is essential that we extend that grace to ourselves.

Even if we are not currently experiencing grief ourselves, we likely know someone who is grieving. Most people suffering grief report how alone they feel when, after the first month or two, others stop talking with them about their loss. I have actually heard people say to those grieving: “you need to get over it”, “you need closure, you should stop thinking about your loss”.

One way we can extend grace to others is to have the courage to continue to be with and speak with them about their loss, showing them that we are  comfortable with their vulnerability, even if it simply means sitting with them in their silence or tears. To offer this grace is to be the “friend who cares” that Henri Nouwen describes in the quote above.

How natural is it for you to extend grace to yourself when you are experiencing grief? Can you think of a time when someone embodied grace by being the kind of friend for you that Henri Nouwen describes? Who in your life now could benefit from you being that kind of friend?