Seeing Through the Eyes of Grief

It is never easy or straightforward to face our grief, to tolerate the regrets and shortcomings of this world.  It could even be said that we become blind-sighted in an attempt to remain free from the pain, the hard work and the obligations that life sets before us. Such was the story of John Newton, a troubled ship merchant born in London in 1725.  

John was so blind to love and grief that a near-death experience at sea finally directed him to see the error of his ways.  His journey of faith and finally his lived experience of “seeing through the eyes of God”, is described in a hymn that he wrote which has since become one of the most well-known hymns ever written – “Amazing Grace”.

A Reading from the Gospel of John (excerpt)

As Jesus went along, he saw a man who had been blind from birth. He spat on the ground, made a paste with the spittle, put this over the eyes of the blind man and said to him, ‘Go and wash in the Pool of Siloam’ (a name that means ‘sent’). So the blind man went off and washed himself, and came away with his sight restored.

Rather than focusing on the entire scripture this week, we have taken an excerpt that speaks to the grace that we encounter when we are willing to be healed. Lent can be seen as a period of time when we are given the grace to be healed.  The grace to reflect on our blindness, grace to enter into the trauma of our loss and grief and simply be with the pain, grace to forgive and be forgiven, and finally to be graced with a new way of seeing, as the mud and spittle fall from our eyes like scales, washing away the temptation to seek and reach for a life that is devoid of pain, and to welcome whatever arises as being a gift: a gift to examine, gift to reflect upon, gift to lament and gift to rejoice.

With that, we invite you to take a moment to look into yourselves and contemplate the following:

Reflective Questions to Ponder

  • How do you become lost in your life or in your grief?
  • What can you see now that you couldn’t see before?
  • Who are the ones that help us see our blind spots?

Final Words

Tonight, as we pray together in the fourth week of Lent we seem to be moving away from the troublesome desert of grief to an opening into the possibility of washing away that which blinds us.  The “washing” brings to mind a kind of baptism and we can wonder whether this is a foreshadowing of and preparation for the renewal of our own baptismal vows that we go through on Easter Saturday. 

As you allow God to bathe and soothe the layers of grief with tears of Grace, can you open gently to something beyond that transforms your grief and suffering into a new way of seeing?