Grief and Loss

By Linda Mihalic

Grief is the pain of mind produced by loss, misfortune, injury or evils of any kind; sorrow; regret. We experience grief when we lose a friend, when we incur loss, when we consider ourselves injured, and by sympathy, we feel grief at the misfortunes of others: The pain of mind occasioned by our own misconduct; sorrow or regret that we have done wrong; pain accompanying repentance. We feel grief when we have offended or injured a friend, and the consciousness of having offended the Supreme Being, fills the penitent heart with the most poignant grief; the cause of sorrow; that which afflicts.Webster’s American Dictionary
  Loss is the fact of being unable to keep or maintain something or someone: the harm or privation resulting from losing or being separated from someone or something: an instance of losing someone or something.Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Grief is both an emotional reaction to losing someone you cherish or value, and sympathetic insight into others’ feelings. Loss is bereavement. Grief is the mental and emotional anguish that arising from bereavement; sorrow its accompanying mental suffering or pain. Excessive grief borders on sin, for it makes the loss greater than life. Grief and sorrow are difficult initiations because your emotions are engaged and alter your chemistry each time you turn your thoughts to your loss. Beware: A sense of guilt and of blame often attend the loss of a parent, a spouse, or a child. Guilt, blame, self-pity and all similar emotions are rooted in the self, which resists any change it did not initiate. To overcome these self-torturing emotions, give up such thoughts as I should have…I shouldn’t have…It happened because…X is to blame…It’s X’s fault… Why? Because the one you love is with God.

Edna Lister lost two children, a boy and a girl, to miscarriage, and her oldest son was killed by friendly fire while he was aboard a Japanese prison ship in the South Pacific. She had personally dealt with much grief and sorrow; however, she did not dwell on her grief but gave it to God as a gift of her love for Him.

Edna Lister on Grief and Sorrow

All is well, though it may not seem so when you grieve. All heartache worked out in deep love and devotion to the Master, each sorrow lifted high and declared good, these are your resources with which to work through earth’s lessons. Ponder how God is giving you all this wonderful strength to build your ladder to the stars. Cry, if you must cry, but give God the sorrow without wasting time.—Edna Lister, August 17, 1937.

When you have learned well the lessons of experience that you have come to gain, then your tears shall be wiped away and sorrow erased from your heart. Sorrow is of earth only, in no way of heaven.—Edna Lister, August 15, 1938.

Real sorrow is all that brings you back to the true Path once you leave it.—Edna Lister, October 1, 1938.

If you could read others’ minds and hearts fully, you would have many grievous hurts to bear.—Edna Lister, December 15, 1938.

Do not entertain selfish grief, which is self-pity.—Edna Lister, December 26, 1938.

By recalling your grief and heartache about past disobedience, you may avoid much future sorrow.—Edna Lister, April 5, 1939.

An alpine climber spends his night in the glorious moonlight at the climbers’ way station eagerly looking to the climb ahead. Regret, grief and sorrow send you back to the foot of the mountain.—Edna Lister, May 7, 1939.

Joyful prayers rise higher, are stronger to release Power of Light, life and substance than are those made in grief and tears of loneliness.—Edna Lister, November 24, 1939.

Excessive grief is a sin against the joy principle, yet grief must preceed repentance. The problem is to sublimate grief, to make its burden a constant reminder that you have earned nothing, yet to hold until you set pain aside. You do not attain this in an hour or a day, but by holding constantly. Protracted grief is a sign of self-love, so rejoice and cut the anchors of self that bind you to earth.—Edna Lister, April 13, 1943.

Your deepest desire to act arises from the most grievous experience.—Edna Lister, April 13, 1943.

Be quite certain that you have carried each pearl of experience forward, not discarded anything in your haste to forget all past hurt, sorrow, grief, burdens or darkness.—Edna Lister, July 31, 1944.

Grief is a sign of love tainted with self instead of all love in God, of God and for God. Cut the anchors of self that bind you to earth and rejoice!—Edna Lister, November 1, 1944.

When you fail to receive the answer to prayer joyfully, because it comes with pain or grief so that it also may pay past debts, you cut off the answer of success, which is always enclosed within the sorrow and grief. Open your heart and mind to the answer, even heartache, for the Master uncovers your self to you in suffering, so that you may have room to receive the answer to prayer.—Edna Lister, July 31, 1945.

Never indulge in grief, just tuck it under God’s coattails. When you indulge in grief, self-pity, or looking back, you trip everyone you hold on your lines of Light.—Edna Lister, June 3, 1947.

The soul will suffer travail of pain, grief and sorrow in overcoming self, but will reach the sunlit Way of Glory of full vision and full hearing.—Edna Lister, June 20, 1947.

You will have experiences of grief, but you can lift them, rise above them and learn from them.—Edna Lister, November 9, 1947.

Grief is a transition from one degree of consciousness to another, the high vibration of the Christed Path, the death of self; on the lower pole, it is physical death. Suffer up in joy rather than down in grief, making sorrow a stepping stone to God. Never let grief degenerate to a point of physical debility, or you can lose your body. When you feel low, you have reached up and turned off the Light.—Edna Lister, June 4, 1951.

Love is Light, the strongest element in the universe, yet its Light is gossamer and you may bear it without a burden. Grief, sorrow and self-pity taint love with weight.—Edna Lister, Prayer, the Soul’s Aspiration, June 7, 1953.

Strip your self of the liability to be hurt or grieved.—Edna Lister, February 5, 1957.

You can walk upright before God in glory or fall flat on your face and suffer, but suffering is not the Way.—Edna Lister, November 8, 1957.

Cool tears are soul Tears, but red hot tears reveal a root of hatred.—Edna Lister, November 17, 1957.

Soul grief doesn’t center in the heart or tear ducts, but is a yearning, brooding ache in every cell.—Edna Lister, December 16, 1957.

Excessive grief turns into a form of selfishness and possessive demands of others.—Edna Lister, March 13, 1958.

You may allow nothing of earth to touch you.—Edna Lister, February 18, 1959.

God cannot set aside law to satisfy your grief.—Edna Lister, God as Personality and Principle, June 9, 1959.

When the little self becomes involved, you descend into subconscious vaults, where you have stored hurts and griefs.—Edna Lister, November 19, 1959.

Grief of failure in missing the mark is greater than any other grief of earth.—Edna Lister, December 29, 1960.

Do not absorb another’s sorrow or fear. Lift!—Edna Lister, Fourteen Stations of the Cross, April 17, 1962.

We are freeing earth from every sorrow, all tears and all pain. Every time one of the Elect conquers one of these things, Light penetrates into every grieving, sorrowful heart on earth.—Edna Lister, Eternity Is Now Mine, May 9, 1965.

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A Treatment for Grief

When you want to cry, say, "Here is this grief for cleansing, Father." Name your loved one, saying, "Father, please free Name from my grief. Let me not create a debt of bondage between us. Thank Thee."—Edna Lister, September 5, 1963.

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A Story That Illustrates Grief and Loss

The Weeping Women of Jerusalem: And there followed him a great company of people, and of women, which also bewailed and lamented him. But Jesus turning unto them said, Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children. For, behold, the days are coming, in the which they shall say, Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bare, and the paps which never gave suck. Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, Fall on us; and to the hills, Cover us. For if they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry?—Luke 23:27-31.

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Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh.—Luke 6:21.

Woe unto you that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and weep.—Luke 6:25.

Ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy.—John 16:20.

Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.—Romans 12:15.

The love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.—1 Timothy 6:10.

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Old Testament on Grief and Loss

Declaration: Depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity; for the Lord hath heard the voice of my weeping.—Psalms 6:8.

Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.—Psalms 30:5.

Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness.—Psalms 30:11.

They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.—Psalms 126:5-6.

I will turn their mourning into joy, and will comfort them, and make them rejoice from their sorrow.—Jeremiah 31:13.

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Grief and Loss in Other Sacred Writings

Do not make a hungry soul sorrowful, or provoke a man in his distress.—Wisdom of Ben Sirach 4:2.

Remove sorrow far from thee: for sorrow has killed many, and there is no profit therein.—Wisdom of Ben Sirach 30:23.

When the Word appeared, error was upset, not knowing what to do; it was grieved, in mourning, afflicting itself because it knew nothing when knowledge drew near it; this is the downfall of error and all its emanations; error is empty, having nothing inside.—The Gospel of Truth, Codex I, 3 and XII, 2.

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Edna Miriam Lister
The original Pioneering Mystic,
Christian Platonist philosopher, American Idealist, Founder, Society of the Universal Living Christ, minister, teacher, author, wife, and mother.

Edna Lister

Etymology of grief: Latin gravare, to cause grief, make heavy, from gravis, weighty.

Etymology of sorrow: Old English sorg, grief, regret, trouble, care.

Grief and sorrow are initiation


Friendship adds a brighter radiance to prosperity and lessens the burden of adversity by dividing and sharing it.—Marcus Tullius Cicero

O, well it has been said, that there is no grief like the grief which does not speak!—Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Every heart has its secret sorrows, which the world knows not, and oftentimes we call a man cold, when he is only sad.—Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Hyperion

Tears are the silent language of grief.—Voltaire


Cicero, Marcus Tullius. Laelius On Friendship, Section 22. William A. Falconer, trans. Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press, England. 1923.

Harper, Douglas. Online Etymology Dictionary, 2024.

The Holy Bible. King James Version (KJV).

Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth. Hyperion. Cambridge, MA: Ticknor and Fields, 1856, pp. 96, 219.

The Nag Hammadi Library. James M. Robinson, ed. San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1988.

The Oxford English Dictionary: Compact Ed., 2 vols. E.S.C. Weiner, ed. Oxford University Press, 1971.

Voltaire, François-Marie Arouet. “Tears,” The Works of Voltaire, A Contemporary Version. A Critique and Biography by John Morley, notes by Tobias Smollett, trans. William F. Fleming. New York: E.R. DuMont, 1901.

Webster, Noah. “Grief, Loss.” Webster’s American Dictionary of the English Language. New York: S. Converse, 1828.