Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of tender mercies and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation2 Corinthians 1:3,4
A number of my friends and lots of our customers have lost relatives during the past ten months to the virus that has shaken all of us in one way or another. I was thinking about what to say to say to one of my friends who has just lost his father.
What came into my mind were the worst kind of clichés, which made me cringe. It made me realize I need to sit down and think about this.
Apparently the Greek word that is translated “comfort” literally means “to call to one’s side”. So, it means being there, staying close to the person grieving. That is hard to do maybe during a national lockdown. But we can still make sure we are in close contact and maybe arrange to go for a walk outside so we can listen and offer encouragement.
I also read that the Greek word is much more than sympathetic words, it is more about imparting some motivation, perhaps practical measures and comfort in order to help someone cope with all that life may demand of them. In other words, the actual loss of a loved one might just be the start of our friend’s challenges. We may need to be aware of the huge hole in their life.
Encouraging them to go on, speaking positively about the future hope for those who have died and being there for them are all part of what comfort can mean – definitely not clichés.