One way to help another through grief

If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.

John 13:14, Revised Standard Version, Christian Bible

Jesus washes disciples' feet
Jesus washes disciples’ feet

What practical things have you done to help another through grief?

When Jesus gathered his followers for their last supper together, he started the evening by washing dirt off their stinky feet—taking on the role of a slave. Jesus was calling his disciples to be servants of one another. Little did they know they would soon be grieving Jesus’ crucifixion, yet Jesus had demonstrated for them how to deal with their anguish: serve one another.

Following Jesus’ example doesn’t have to involve washing feet. It can be washing your own hands after digging them in the dirt of a friend’s garden.

My friend Rebecca, a minister and chaplain, not only preaches well—she performed the ministerial role at my son Brennan’s funeral—she surprised me last fall by offering to come over to plant crocus bulbs in his garden and help me with other chores I couldn’t do alone. Rebecca works long hours in an emotionally demanding job and uses weekends to rest up so she can go back out and continue assisting people with major life events. Yet she cleared a full day so she could come over and help me out.

We planted dozens of crocus bulbs and did a variety of other jobs that would have been much more difficult to do alone.
I am honored by her generosity of spirit and gracious assistance. It was healing balm for my heart, as if she was picking up some of the slack that Brennan left behind. She symbolically did what Christ encouraged all of us to do—to wash up after others. She is living what she preaches.

Thriver Soup Ingredient
Sometimes the best help for a grieving person is coming over and doing the chores the loved one usually did. This demonstrates that even though there is a terrible loss, others can pick up a little bit of the slack and make life a tiny bit more bearable.

“Jesus Washing the Feet of the Disciples” oil on canvas. Louis Comfort Tiffany. Accessed April 6, 2016

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