Feeling Love’s embrace
A Christian Science perspective: Overcoming grief of loved ones lost.
When there is a loss of a loved one, we all yearn to find solace. Among the emotions of grief may be remorse, guilt, fear – even anger. Loving friends may bring consolation, but what lifted my heart out of the gloom of mourning was the Love I’ve come to know is God.
The Bible states, “God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him” (I John 4:16). Far more than a human sense of love, divine Love comforts and heals. People have turned to the redeeming power of God’s love for centuries, and have found healing. The strength and peace that come from a spiritual understanding of God as Love enable us to rise up from mourning and see our unbreakable relationship to Him.
Jesus said, “I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you” (John 14:18). This is the Christ message of God’s ever-present love for every longing heart. He taught his followers about the true nature of God as ever-present Love and about our own spiritual identity as children of God. Getting a glimpse of this, St. Paul wrote, “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life ... shall be able to separate us from the love of God” (Romans 8:38, 39).
One afternoon when I was in the 7th grade my mother came home from work with a family friend. This dear friend had the task of informing me that my two older brothers had been in a car accident in another state while on their way home from a trip. One of them had been killed and the other was hospitalized. That evening, neighbors and friends poured in, but all I wanted to do was hide. Although their sympathies were genuine, I couldn’t find comfort in them. My parents had to leave the next morning to go to the hospital where my brother was, and I was taken to stay at the home of my parents’ friends, whom I did not know well.
Suddenly, I had no family around me. The news of my brother’s death was devastating, and in the midst of overwhelming grief and insecurity I felt compelled to turn wholeheartedly to God. I had an urgent desire not only to feel God’s presence for myself, but for my brother who had passed on, too. I leaned on what I had been learning in the Christian Science Sunday School: that God, as my Father-Mother, is Love and is ever present. Although the brother who had died had been my confidant, a rock upon which I could lean, now I was starting to see that the love he expressed was really evidence of the love that comes from God. I could turn to that same source and be secure in the spiritual fact that neither I nor my brother could ever be separated from God; that as I learned more about God as Love, I would see more evidence of love in my experience.
Throughout the time that my parents were away, I started to see love expressed by the many people around me, people whom I barely knew. As I looked back, it became clear that everyone was, in reality, the spiritual reflection of divine Love, our divine Parent. I felt assured that God was not only taking care of my brother who had passed, but of me, too, and the rest of my family. Because of this newfound recognition of love, I became more loving myself – less self-centered, more responsible and thoughtful. My other brother, who had been in intensive care, was able to leave the hospital sooner than was predicted, and I was able to help take care of him at home. Relying on divine Love enabled my parents to overcome grief and anger, too; and in turn, our family grew more loving toward one another.
My experience showed me that a growing understanding of divine Love brings healing and brings people together, because Love supports those who are struggling, even in the most challenging circumstances. In the words of Christian Science Founder Mary Baker Eddy: “The wintry blasts of earth may uproot the flowers of affection, and scatter them to the winds; but this severance of fleshly ties serves to unite thought more closely to God, for Love supports the struggling heart until it ceases to sigh over the world and begins to unfold its wings for heaven” (“Science and Health, with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 57).