Thoughts On Grief

I took a little time to read some passages about grief. This isn’t a dissertation or in-depth collection, just some passages and observations. 

“For there is a moment in His anger, But life is in His good pleasure; In the evening, weeping may pass the ​night, But in the morning there is singing aloud.” Psalm 30:5

  People experience grief in a huge range. There is sadness in a loss of something or someone. Sometimes the sadness or grief does not feel logical, just there, existing in us. 

Little children might experience grief. What might seem like a profound loss to them, might seem like a very small issue to the adults or other people around them. I think this can be true for anyone and their own experience. Something can feel like a catastrophe while in the moment or span of dealing with something, but to the people not invested, the issue can seem small. Even the people dealing with the problem, after the fact can think back on the issue as being insignificant. 

 “It is known that all anxiety and grief arise from being deprived of the things with which we are affected, or which we love. They who are affected only with corporeal and worldly things, or who love such things only, grieve when they are deprived of them; but they who are affected with spiritual goods and truths and love them, grieve when they are deprived of them. Everyone’s life is nothing but affection or love. Hence it is evident what is the state of those who are desolated as to the goods and truths with which they are affected, or which they love, namely, that their state of grief is more severe, because more internal;” Arcana Coelestia 2689

It seems like grief is often useful and is a necessary part of loss. 

“No one is reformed in unhealthy mental states, because these take away rationality, and consequently the freedom to act in accordance with reason. For the mind may be sick and unsound; and while a sound mind is rational a sick mind is not. Such unhealthy mental states are melancholy, a spurious or false conscience, hallucinations of various kinds, grief of mind from misfortunes, and anxieties and mental suffering from a vitiated condition of the body. These are sometimes regarded as temptations, but they are not. For genuine temptations have as their objects things spiritual, and in these the mind is wise; but these states have as their objects natural things, and in these the mind is unhealthy.” Divine Providence 141

Some grief may not be useful, but an unhealthy despair or feeling of loss over something. Grief is separate from Zeal and Temptation. Both those ideas seem to involve fear and sadness. 

“That to “mourn” and to “weep” signify a state of grief is evident without explication; to “mourn” has respect to grief on account of night as to good in the church, and to “weep” as to truths.” Arcana Coelestia 2910

I love the distinction here between mourning being in relation to good and weeping in relation to truths. 

“And they wept. That this signifies the effect, is evident from the signification of “weeping,” as being the effect of grief, and also the effect of joy (see n. 3801); here, the effect of joy from the conjunction of good with truths through love.” Arcana Coelestia 4354

“Saith unto me, Weep not, signifies there need be no grief on that account. This is evident from the signification of “weeping,” as being grief of heart, as above (n. 306), where also the reason for this may be seen.” Apocalypse Explained 308

I don’t really have a conclusion. I was just pondering over grief, how it affects each of us, how it can be crippling or minor. I love the passages I read over. I enjoyed reading some of the differences in the ways it appears and the meaning depending on the context. I would be further interested in how grief relates to temptation, but temptation is a big topic of its own! 

About Eliza

I am wife to Matthew Genzlinger and mother of 6 pretty fun children. We lived in Concord, MA for 11 years until last year when we moved to Kempton, PA. Until this year We were homeschooling all our kids, now we have the two eldest (boys) in the Kempton New Church school and our four girls are still at home. Matthew teaches at the Bryn Athyn College and Academy of the New church. I love working on raising potential angels, making a home for us. I love to run (when I can squeeze it in) and sewing and cooking are some of my favorite home-activities.

3 thoughts on “Thoughts On Grief

  1. Eliza, these numbers bring up many thoughts. Especially thoughts about the grief Jesus must have felt on Earth. “Jesus wept” … and His unfathomable grief to be rejected and crucified by the people He created.
    ” …they who are affected with spiritual goods and truths and love them, grieve when they are deprived of them. Everyone’s life is nothing but affection or love. Hence it is evident what is the state of those who are desolated as to the goods and truths with which they are affected, or which they love, namely, that their state of grief is more severe, because more internal;” How severe His grief must have been!

  2. Trish, that made me think of the arioso ‘Thy Rebuke’ in Handel’s Messiah,
    Based on Psalm 69:20
    ‘Reproach hath broken my heart; and I am full of heaviness: and I looked for some to take pity, but there was none; and for comforters, but I found none.’

    1. Not to trivialize any person’s grief, but thinking of what happened to the LORD the creator of heaven and earth, makes other things we might mourn seem a little small. Of course the Lord’s capacity for mercy and forgiveness and understanding surpasses anything we can imagine as well.

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