Awkward Consolations

Tragedy as a Christian seems to carry with it the burden of an expected response. Talk of the hereafter isn’t even remotely consoling if I am being honest about it. It’s downright awkward.

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I am one of those people that could talk your socks off about almost anything, or at the least I could listen to someone talk about almost anything. When it comes to offering condolences though, I hesitate. Its not that I don’t know what to say; it is more a case of I don’t necessarily believe what I’m about to say is going to help.

C.S. Lewis once wrote after the death of his wife, “don’t come talking to me about consolations of religion, or I shall think you don’t understand.”

My own experiences with grief, is that it can take on a trajectory of its own and a timeline that isn’t going to be dictated to by anyone. Everyone means well, and it is appreciated when they express a sentiment that is coming from the heart, or even just the awkward attempt to make you smile.

Religious folk – and I am one of those – say things that can make one feel very frustrated when they’re hurting. Sometimes a silent embrace, or a look that says you understand is more empowering than any words about something so seemingly distant and mystical as the hereafter… even if I do believe in one.

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June 2021
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