I recently had a bad spell at work after finding out a coworker was pregnant. Having to compose myself and get back to work was hard, but after some deep breaths and prayer, I was able to continue working. The process of grief is also one that we at times feel should be easier. For example, I still miss my father more than 10 years after his passing, but yet with infertility I am less patient with myself and I wish I did not get so upset when I hear of someone else’s good fortune.
I read a book by Peter van Breemen S.J., The God Who Won’t Let Go, that talked about Mary Magdalene visiting the tomb of Jesus and her grief at the Lord’s death (John 20). She was so engulfed in her own grief that she did not even recognize Jesus when he spoke to her. There are so many moments during this journey when the pain has been so great that I, too, have failed to recognize Jesus.
Mary Magdalene chose to turn toward her faith community in her grief instead of retreating from the world and isolating herself. This is a wonderful example of how we need to turn to those people and things that give us strength so we can face the situations that defy our understanding.