are over burdened, and I will give you rest.” It has become a commonplace of contemporary life that bereaved people need counselling. With the help of a professional outsider, the grief-stricken can confront their sense of loss and deal with it. “Keeping it to yourself” is discouraged. The bereaved find themselves facing advisers as well-meaning as Shakespeare’s Malcolm: “Give sorrow words: the grief that does not speak whispers the o’erfraught heart, and bids it break.” It may be wise advice
for some. But not necessarily for all. Recent research by psychologists in Utrecht, published in the Clinical Psychology Review, suggests that going public on our innermost sadness is not a universal solution. They could find no link between emotional articulating of grief and any lessening of the distress.
They concluded that the most common difficulty suffered by bereaved people is emotional loneliness – the feeling of being utterly bereft, even when actually in the company of family and friends. This type of loneliness only abates with time and nothing can be done to aid recovery.
Time is indeed the great healer. But there is another source of consolation.
The bereaved may find it impossible to express their grief in words and may well feel that the last thing they want is for their bruised emotions to be trampled over by well-meaning strangers. The human heart, tender and vulnerable as it is, has wordless thoughts “that do often lie too deep for tears”.
In those inarticulate deeps there is one certain friend who simply understands what we simply cannot express.
Jesus needs no words. You can lay your head trustingly on his shoulder and know that in the very depths of your being you are understood.
Sorrow is an experience of conflicts. It is sometimes easier to weep for a stranger as, for example, many wept for Diana, Princess of Wales – than to weep for a soulmate. Our deepest sorrow is so deep it numbs. No feeling, no tears and certainly no words.
So, be still; sit apart in gentle silence and let Jesus read your heart. The Lord is kind and full of compassion, abounding in love. And he will give you rest.