Healthy Grieving

“Healthy grieving frees us for healthy new visions.”
Patrick Keifert
     Let’s begin with unhealthy grieving. That is the grieving that refuses to let go – refuses to let go emotionally of someone who has died, refuses to let go of an old place of residence even when a change in life circumstance suggest that it is best to move, refuses to let go of old ways of doing things. Unhealthy grieving wants to freeze time in a comfortable place. I have practiced unhealthy grieving at various times in my life. So have you.
     Healthy grieving is still grieving. The difference is accepting that things change. More than that, healthy grieving anticipates that God – and God’s blessings – will be present in the new thing. Yet, there is still grief. The fact that grief is present is a demonstration that what is left behind was something good. It added value to our lives and brought a measure of joy. Healthy grieving acknowledges the good that passes into our history and celebrates that our lives are the richer for that which must now be left behind.
     According to Patrick Keifert, healthy grieving also frees us for healthy new visions. Whereas unhealthy grieving seeks to hold us in a moment of time, refusing the future that moves with great certainty toward us, healthy grieving lets go of the old and extends open hands to the future.
    Missional Churchthinking, Missional Church behavior is the future toward which God is leading the church. And for anyone who has loved the church this leading of God results in grief. Grief is experienced because what is left behind is the old way of being church – that church where we were baptized and married and raised our children. The church that gave us community, filled with meaningful relationships and support for life’s difficult moments. The question then becomes, what will your grief look like? Will it be unhealthy grief or healthy grief?
     To answer the question fairly demands an important piece of information – why this new thing? Why the Missional Church? It is an honest question and one that deserves a deeper response than can be provided here. More attention will be given to this question in the coming year. For now, the quick answer is that this new way of being church, this Missional Church movement is really old. It is the only way of being church and doing church spoken of in both the Old and New Testament. Somewhere in time we recreated church – the church we are so familiar with. But this church is unknown in the Bible. The Missional Church Movement is really a Holy Spirit thing, calling the church to return to God’s blueprint for the church. Understanding that this is of God, that this is really a return to the original design for the church, helps me personally to make the decision in favor of healthy grieving. And it frees me for healthy new visions.

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