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How Long Should it Hurt?

Jesse Wilson

There is no person that I respect more than Dr. George Russell Seay Jr. From the same city and home church, we have known each other for years. He even had the good eyes and great fortune to marry my “best looking and sweetest sister” – he made that last comment.

He is my favorite theologian, and there is powerfully practical theology in this tribute to his late cousin, Chubby.  Read it because at some point we all need it.

“The saying that time heals all wounds is misleading. First, it suggests that there is something intrinsic in time that is healing. It is not. It is time and comfort. It is the ministry of presence by those who are able to rejoice and weep with you. This sets up false expectations for the one who experienced the loss and impatience in the persons called to minister comfort.

Second, it suggests that healing will remove the sense of loss and pain in time. Those who have lost significant persons in their lives know this to be false. It is irrelevant if the person lived long or short, died suddenly or after a lengthy illness. The loss and pain remain. The intensity of pain may diminish some, but it is not eradicated.

Third, as I reflect on the significant losses in my life, I do not want the wound to heal. I am no masochist; I do not delight in pain or suffering. However, to still feel the loss says that the significance of the person and the positive memories are still with me. They still matter. In a strange way, it is the sense of loss that affirms the positive. 

On this day, May 1, 42 years ago (1975) I lost my cousin Hammond Edward “Chubby” Seay. It is rare that a week goes by that something does not provoke a memory or thought of him. He was the Eldest Seay boy of the clan of Ora & Ernest Seay (my father’s parents). Six years my senior, he was my hero and role model. He played the trumpet and was a member of the Raw Soul Band of Memphis, a track star in high school & college, pitcher/catcher in baseball, personable, and had a real sense of humor. 

I miss him and still feel the loss. There are times that I still grieve without shame or guilt, but not without hope.”

Jesse Wilson

Jesse
Wilson

Jesse Wilson is Associate Professor of Religion and Theology at Oakwood University and the Director of PELC. Follow him on twitter @drjessewilson

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