Grief, Suffering, and Faith


a3dfe9a116ed43366332f2e46e683a1cSome of you may have seen the picture on the news of two Orlando mourners nearly incapable of standing being held by a Muslin woman in her Hijab. As she prayed for them, they apparently found strength to keep mourning.

What a beautiful picture of the kind of world that is available to us–a world where respect and honor of faith and grief come together.

I have so often thought that it is in our suffering and grief that all people of all faiths, of all orientations, of all races connect without words.

What is it about suffering and grief that connects all of us?  If you choose, meditate for a moment on that question.  

  • When a home burns, floods, or is destroyed by a tornado, do we wonder how the people are?
  • When we witness an abused or hungry child, what stirs in our hearts?
  • When a friend or family member is wrongly depicted, do we scream at injustices for all people? 
  • When animals are battered, is our anger aroused?
  • When we make mistakes or speak poorly of someone, can we say, “I’m sorry?”

How we respond to our daily life situations may give us a hint of how and why faith and grief connect.

In Matthew 25 we read: “Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you drink?  And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you

“Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.”

Meditate for a moment on the connection between grief/suffering and faith that may be the gift that ultimately brings families, communities, churches, synagogues, mosques, school, theaters, and nightclubs together in love.

Jolene Bergstrom Carlson
Executive Director/President