“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” This second of the Beatitudes addresses all those who have lost someone or something dear to them. There is an emptiness in the people who mourn, a loss that hurts terribly. And yet death is the most natural of things that happen to every living creature, human, plant and animal. In our world the breakdown of the dead body or plant is meant to feed the soil and the next generations. And then there is new life.
So death is the most natural thing in the world, but we are creatures who live emotional lives and spiritual lives as well as physical ones. And mourning comes so easily to us in the death of a dear one, be it the loss of a child or a dear spouse or someone close to us.
And so we mourn. And we will be comforted, by the Holy Spirit of God. Even in our deep sense of loss, God is still there offering comfort, allowing for the losses, but yet holding us while we process them. If we want to suffer less during a period of mourning, we need to cling less to the departed one.
Many of you know that I am a widow. I have written this year about how the Holy Spirit helped me even before Hank died from lymphoma by showing me how to hold all outcomes equally, because I could not even accept that he might die. As soon as I was able to hold all outcomes equally, I was given a gift of faith in God so great that I felt that I was the house built on rock and that nothing, not even Hank’s death could shake my faith in God. Over the next two months I was filled with joy at life itself and sorrow, too, neither polluting or chasing out the other. I was able to support my husband, our kids and our friends through these last weeks. After he died, I dropped into the mourning.
Those who mourn will be comforted! Two years of mourning followed even as I began to build a new life as the Holy Spirit directed any movement. Even today, 17 years later, I can still shed tears for Hank, but when I look back on his life and the healing he had experienced of a difficult childhood, I can see that he was ready to go. And I am, apparently, not.
It’s not just the loss of a loved one that makes a mourner. As Dallas Willard puts it: “So many things to break the heart! But as they see the kingdom in Jesus , enter it, and learn to live in it, they find comfort, and their tears turn to laughter.” And Neil Douglas-Klotz would add that the word mourners “carries the sense of those who long deeply for something to occur, those troubled or in emotional turmoil, or those who are weak and in want from such longing.” Troubled or longing for something add a new dimension to our understanding of this beatitude. They, too, will be comforted.
And Willard adds that the Greek word translated “comforted” “also connotes being returned from wandering, united inside by love, feeling an inner continuity, or seeing the arrival of what one longs for.” And what do we long for? Peace, connection, love, forgiveness, in fact all the fruit of the spirit: peace, joy, love, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Embraced by the fruit of the Spirit, by God himself, we will be comforted, returned to our true home. And there we will be healed, transformed into people who can, in turn, give the fruit of the spirit to a starving world.
And so, we can “walk forth” in blessedness as I pointed out in the first of these posts on the Beatitudes, even with tears streaming down our faces, knowing full well that we will be comforted, that we will find a new life without the loved one and we will not have to wander anymore. That all our needs will be met.
Questions to ponder over the week: Have I mourned my losses thoroughly? What pain or suffering or loss still hasn’t been addressed? Have I asked God to help me deal with it and to heal from it? What do I need to face squarely about my life or myself?
Blessing for the week: May we be the people of God who mourn our losses and pain thoroughly. May we shed the tears we’ve been afraid to release. May we be comforted totally.
Check out the archives of this blob by topic and sign up to receive my blog directly in your email, either once a week or five-days-a-week, with the bonus of a free guided meditation for you!
 Dallas Willard, The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering our Hidden Life in God, HarperOne, NY, 1997, p. 117
 Neil Douglas-Klotz, Reflections on the Original Meaning of Jesus’s Words, HarperOne, NY, 1990, p. 51
 Galatians 5:22-3