Grief can feel like a thick fog that prevents you from thinking clearly or even thinking beyond the moment. It can arrest you with its shock and leave you feeling numb. During the early stages of grief our mind can’t easily focus outside the current circumstance.
However, the time will come when it will be easier to look outside your grief and consider the well-being of others. At first you’ll think about your family, your children, and your grandchildren. There will be flashes of worry and wonder regarding your family’s journey through the grief, even though you’re still wading through your grieving.
Eventually you should begin to think about others around you, too. Not just your family, but those in your neighborhood or church or the senior center or those whom you may find yourself interacting with when out and about at the store.
Everyone has a story and sorrow, and when you begin to start thinking about others’ well-being you will begin to heal in your own grief, too. When you pause to express kindness or share a smile or help someone in some way, you’ll be helping yourself move forward in your own grief journey.
There are three verses in Proverbs 11 that I want to highlight for you. They each share this principle of helping yourself by helping others…
“Those who are kind benefit themselves, but the cruel bring ruin on themselves” — Proverbs 11:17 (NIV).
“One person gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty” — Proverbs 11:24 (NIV).
“A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed” — Proverbs 11:25 (NIV).
Everyone’s time table for grieving is different but at some point in your journey of grief, remember this principle. When the time comes you’ll find ways to express it in your day by day activities.
It might mean being more aware of others around you, realizing that they may be hurting with something. It may mean being intentional about an act of kindness in the grocery aisle. It may mean volunteering at church or through some organization that you are aligned with.
Again, just keep this in mind and trust in God to help you apply it.