Unexpected Grief


Grief can strike you in unexpected ways and in unexpected places, can’t it? One moment you’re buzzin along with your day, and the next you’re crying because they don’t have the sandwich you want at Panera. But it’s not about the sandwich.

I lost a friend last year. A close friend. It was a hit and run car accident, which I still can’t believe happened to someone I actually know. Knew.

I cried when it happened, and I grieved. Or at least I thought I had fully grieved. I even offered to host his family and friends for a celebration of his life on the one year anniversary of his death, hoping to bring support and comfort to those still deep in grief. He had been very loved, and many people responded and said they’d come. We made all the plans and set the event into motion.

I wanted to paint something for the celebration; some type of tribute to my friend. So I gathered all the paints and materials and happily skipped off to Michael’s Crafts. But it was there at Michael’s, in Aisle 10, that grief visited me like an unexpected enemy. I stood staring at all the canvas options. Why were there so many? How could they expect me to choose a canvas out of what seemed like a thousand of them? And how could I expect to honor someone’s memory with one? Completely overwhelmed, I started to cry. Just a little at first, but then my face flooded with hot tears. But it wasn’t about the canvases.

All we can do is welcome grief when it comes and feel things in a real and genuine way before God. Alongside God. In God. Because He will take what’s broken and mend it up again, even more beautiful than before.

So I cried, and I painted. And the beauty came out.