How to help a pastor (or friend) grieve

This update comes on the last week of our third year as a church. After the first weekend in October Grafted will officially be three years old! Thinking back over that time I realize more and more as the years go on that I have no clue what I am doing. I know that I do my best to encourage you all with the good news that the Gospel brings to each of our lives, and that I live before you as an example of how to live in reaction to that good news, but the details of how to pull that off have always been a bit sketchy to me.
I have lived before you through the birth of my son and the near death of my wife; I have lived before you through my mistakes and my victories; I have sometimes led you poorly and needed to apologize and other times I have provided good leadership; we moved the location where we hold our weekly church service and many of us have moved where we call home on a day to day basis; we have started some ministries together and some of them have even worked!
With all of this in mind, I want to now come before you and let you see how a son, who understands his place as God’s son through Christ, grieves the death of his father. But once again I have no clue what I am doing. Some days it feels like I just didn’t talked to him because we missed each other’s phone calls. Some days the fact that I can’t call him anymore really hits me. Some days are days to get things done as a way to process emotions. Some days are days when I want to surround myself with my kids’ stuff animals and be in the fetal position for 8 hours. Grief is weird. And it has hit me at weird times.
I want you all to be a part of my grieving process.
That doesn’t mean that you need to always ask me how I am doing that day, but rather it means that I want you to be there. Be there so that later we can look back and say, “remember that time when I was driving down the road and I started crying for no reason and you were able to sit with me?” Be there so that we can look back and laugh. Be there so that when we want to look back we don’t need to tell the stories because we were both there.
When my first college buddy got married I was a part of the crew that royally messed up celebrating his wedding because our friend group had absolutely no institutional knowledge of how to do a bachelor party and all the other things. If this is the first time that you are seeing someone of our age go through the loss of a loved one, let me impart some of the institutional knowledge that I have picked up: you don’t need to do much, just show up and be there.

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