Maxwell Parker in Norman, Oklahoma, says that the answer to any question posed to kids in Sunday School is most likely "Jesus" :
“If you just say ‘Jesus’ you’ve got, like, a 95% chance of being correct, no matter what the question is. You’ll probably even get a ‘good job’ from the teacher and maybe even a treat from the surprise box as well.” 1
This funny story comes to mind when I imagine someone posing the question, "What is the most important spiritual practice?"
I visualize other people raising their hand, similarly to Maxwell, blurting out: "Reading the Bible", "Praying", or "Fasting"!
I on the other hand would be the one raising my hand with this answer: "I think the most important spiritual practice is: Grief." [insert: record scratch here]
I was first introduced to grief and loss in my early 20's due to a relationship that went through several start and stop cycles. After many rounds, the "machine" stopped working and so did my heart.
My mom sweetly handed me a book called, Recovering from the Losses of Life, by Norman Wright . It was through this book that I started to understand how important it is to validate and grieve my own relational loss(es) regardless of how small or big I perceive them to be.
Since then, I have become more and more familiar with grief through the ups and downs of life. Although it isn't any easier when grief knocks at the door, I have come to trust, welcome, and believe in it like I would a dear friend.
For grief is a gift that God has given us as humans to cope with loss and change. It allows our souls to feel, release and then be open to what is to come so that we aren't tied to the past....so that we can live a bit more freer and lighter - with more peace.
I know that we can get scared of our own emotion, be concerned that our grief will drown us, and that grief is not convenient, but if we have the support we need to help us grieve healthily, it has the opportunity to be one of the most powerful and transformative practices we can engage in.
Is there a change or loss God is inviting you to grieve?