Acquainted With Grief

May 21, 2013

We wake again to the most terrible news.

Like many of you, I turn the radio off when my children stumble, sleepy-eyed, into the kitchen. In an hour, they will sit in their own elementary school classrooms, and I don’t have answers for the questions they will ask.

I pack lunches, and my own head pounds with questions. Old, old questions.

Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?

We are not the first to ask these questions, but they have grown more insistent over the years, not less. At one time, God walked among us. But we have seen so much trouble since those days. We have cried rivers of tears.

I sometimes think I have the answers. When Jesus, speaking of resurrection, says, “Do you believe?” I say, yes. I believe.

But belief is not the same thing as answers. Not, really. Belief cannot silence questions like Why and Where were you?

When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

Because I believe, I reach too quickly for answers. Because I write stories, I move too soon to imagine happy endings.

In other words, I do not follow the example of the One I profess to follow. It seems too hard to do what he did: to let myself be moved. To let myself be troubled.

To let the tears fall.

When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. “Where have you laid him?” he asked. “Come and see, Lord,” they replied.

Jesus wept.

I don’t have answers for a day like this. How does anyone keep going after a two-mile-wide nightmare overtakes them?

I don’t know.

I hope – I can only hope – that when the time comes to stand up again and move, I will be there, cross in hand, following.

Following the suffering King.

The man of sorrows.

The one who stays and weeps and is moved by our questions.

Why? Why? Where were you?






  1. Annie Barnett

    Thank you, Christie. This echoes my heavy heart this morning. Grateful for your words here.

    • Christie Purifoy

      You are welcome, Annie. And, thank you – if nothing else it is good to remember that we do not weep alone.

  2. Marilyn

    Oh, Christy. I have had a 2-mile wide nightmare overtake me this past year (metaphorically, of course, and not meant to minimize the current headlines). But I do know the answer to your question, “How does anyone keep going…?” and it’s just as you wrote, to stand up again, cross in hand, following the One who stays and weeps and is moved by our questions. You wrestle with “Where were You?” and find He is big enough to take it…..and to heal what needs to be healed. And you find out how true it is. But we aren’t to forget that He is called “man of sorrows, acquainted with grief” and we allowed to grief.

    This post is pure poetry.

    • Christie Purifoy

      Thank you, Marilyn. Your words mean so much to me. What would I do without the testimonies of those who have been there and found that Jesus really is enough? My own testimony is one thing, but when it is added up with so many others – well, my faith is built of those rocks. Thank you for sharing. And blessings to you – may you find yourself on level ground with a shepherd at your side.



  1. Friday features (May 24) - [...] Acquainted with Grief by Christie Purifoy in Christie Purifoy: There Is a River [...]

Leave a Reply

Pin It on Pinterest