Can You Just Sit with Me – Natasha Smith

Can You Just Sit with Me?: Healthy Grieving for the Losses of Life by Natasha Smith
Also by this author: Can You Just Sit with Me?: Healthy Grieving for the Losses of Life
Published by Brazos Press on September 26, 2023
Genres: Non-Fiction, Christian Life
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"Why are you still sad about that?"

It takes time and space to grieve well, but often our culture doesn't afford us these things. Drawing from her own experience with grief, Natasha Smith invites us into a reflection on what it means to grieve and how to cling to hope even in our darkest moments. Instead of providing quick-fix solutions, this book creates space for us to take time to just sit and grieve, learn, and heal in healthy ways.

In Can You Just Sit with Me? Smith provides personal stories, biblical reflections, relevant research, practical tools, and prayers that point us to God, who always sits with us in our grief. Whether we are grieving a loss or supporting a friend who is grieving, this book reminds us that every loss is worthy of the space and grace to grieve.

Job’s friends get a bad rap. Sure, they offer bad advice—but it was sincere, popular, and compassionate advice. And before they do all of that? They come and simply sit with him in the literal dump and offer him the peace of their presence. In Can You Just Sit with Me? Natasha Smith invites readers into her personal and professional life to offer her perspective on what healthy grief looks like and comes alongside those hurting to encourage them that sitting in grief is not the same as wallowing in it.

Grief is an uncomfortable experience. American Christianity is built on a theology of victory, where grief is ignored or minimized in the fear that it somehow lessens God’s victory through Jesus. And despite that, grief is universal. We feel grief during expected losses such as the death of elderly parents or grandparents, the loss of a home or a job due to a planned move, the loss of a stage of life because you have moved into another one. We feel grief during unexpected losses as well. And while everyone usually allows a modicum of time for the latter, we often tend to forget the former. One thing that Can You Just Sit with Me? did was validate the feelings of grief and loss that comes with planned or expected loss or change and acknowledge that you can feel grief even as move onto something better.

One of the most helpful aspects of the book is that each chapter ends in a “grief exercise” intended to help the reader really understand the process of lament and feel its value. Grief isn’t just something to understand theoretically, it’s something to participate in—something that the body must do. Can You Just Sit with Me? helps readers embody grief, which leads to more healthy processing of it.

I think we have a bad relationship to grief and sadness. It begins in childhood. “Nobody likes a crying boy” is a phrase I heard from a parent directed at their child at the park the other day. We fail to understand the sadness or emotions of children. It doesn’t seem rational to us however important it seems to them. As a parent, I’ve found that trying to explain to my child why their grief is not rational is rarely helpful. Instead, I just sit and hold them. Can You Just Sit with Me? That principle applies to adults as well. We need safe places to truly feel our grief and work it out. Natasha Smith is able to show us those places and give us the tool to do so.