Dealing With Grief, Part 7: Making Sense of Life -- By Joseph J. Mazzella
Dealing with grief is perhaps one of the hardest things that we, as humans, must do. Grief may be rooted in a death or illness, or it may be rooted in a loss, such as the loss of support, the loss of a spouse through divorce, the loss of a job, or even the feelings of abandonment that parents often go through as they realize they must allow their children to grow up. The focus of the upcoming 8 devotionals, that will be appearing in the next 8 Saturday editions of The Nugget, will be on how to deal with the grief. The first two devotionals focused on the grieving cycle, and these last eight will teach us important lessons about grief from specific and personal experiences of Nugget Writers. Our prayer is that you will be blessed by this series, and that somehow, whatever it is you are grieving, the lessons presented here will help you to get through.

In Dealing with Grief Part 6, we learned that one of the important secrets to dealing with whatever kind of grief you are going through is staying rooted and grounded in Jesus! Today's devotional, brought to us by Joe Mazzella, though not specific to death, tells us the attitude that we need to have when facing any kind of grief:

MAKING SENSE OF LIFE

"Does life ever make sense?" This was a question asked to me by a friend the other day. Like all of us this lady had seen a lot of suffering, a lot of injustice, and a lot of insanity in this world. She had seen parents having to bury their children, good people having to go through cancer, and hard working souls having to struggle to make ends meet. She had seen wars, famines, and natural disasters. She had seen cruel and selfish people prosper while others with more caring hearts dealt with loss and tragedy.

As she looked me in the eyes and asked me that question, I smiled back and said the first words that came from my heart: "only when you love." I think now that those words must have been sent to me by God, because the wisdom in them eased her mind and touched her heart. We talked peacefully a while longer and she thanked me before going on her way.

In truth, only love can make sense of this life. It is only when you love that you can grow better and more caring from the pains life brings you. It is only when you love that you can face injustice with a passion to make things better. It is only when you love that you can meet the insanity of the world with the sanity of your soul. Love helps you to see the precious value of every life no matter how limited or how brief. Love helps you to face a life threatening disease with a greater joy for living. Love helps you to see that true wealth comes from the soul and not the things you own. With love in your life you realize the senselessness of war and the pricelessness of peace. With love in your heart you see every famine and natural disaster as a call to help others even more. With love in your soul you feel God's love everywhere as well.

If you want to make sense of this life then just love. It won't stop the questions, but it will help you live the answers. It won't fully explain this life, but it will get you ready for the next.

"If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing ... And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love." (1 Cor. 13: 1-4,13 NIV)

Joseph Mazzella*

It makes sense, doesn't it? Sometimes we have to stop focusing on "us" and "our" problems, and begin to focus on others. When we do so, we are really loving others the way God loves. And it's amazing how our problems begin to look so much less important when we do so!

Please join us next week for Dealing with Grief, Part 8: Who Feels the Pain?

* Joe Mazzella is a writer and mental Health worker who lives in the mountains of West Virginia with his 3 children, 6 dogs, and 4 cats. He appreciates hearing from his readers: joecool@wirefire.com

(To access the entire "Dealing With Grief" mini-series, please click here.)