death, divorce, Grey's Anatomy, grief, illness, losing loved ones, lost job, pain, Psalm 22, Psalm 88, sucks
Yes, to some of you, the word “sucks” is edgy. Some will find this word and even this post offensive. I hope others find grace in the way they express themselves. My intention is not to offend but to help people find words for their pain.
On Thursday’s Grey’s Anatomy, a school teacher was dealing with her ill health. This was a teacher whose students very much viewed her in high regard and missed her when she wasn’t in class. She would correct her students when using certain terms, like “sucks.” But when her students left the room, it was her time to process the terminal cancer diagnosis. In verbalizing her pain and health challenges, she couldn’t help but use a certain word: “We don’t say ‘sucks.’ But this sucks.”
Growing up, my dad always hated the use of the word “sucks.” So it wasn’t a term we used very often. Somewhere in the back of my head, I still think of the word as derogatory language.
But I wonder if limiting ourselves of the words we use to express our deepest pain is doing us an injustice, especially if we use them in safe spaces. Maybe authentically expressing our grief or pain is what we need to continue moving forward or to process our grief. Maybe this includes using terms like “this sucks” because, frankly, nothing is closer to the truth when we hurt.
When someone hits a rough point of their lives, I sometimes have nothing else I want to say except “it sucks.” To me, there are few words that can really embrace a low moment in our lives.
I get sad when people try to edit themselves around me because they know I’m a pastor. Instead of being authentic and expressing their emotion in real ways, they avoid using curse words or talking about edgy parts of their lives. What if you knew that your pastor would be fine with whatever words you need to use? Would you be more open to expressing yourself? How would this help you move forward in your life?
Lamenting is real. Pain is real. What do you want to say when you hurt horribly?
When a member of your family dies or your pet has to be put to sleep, it sucks.
When you lose a job, it sucks.
When you are diagnosed with a serious illness, it sucks.
When you have lost a relationship, it sucks.
I would rather hear someone try to comfort another person with “it sucks” because saying things like “it happens for a reason” or “God has a plan” doesn’t really affirm a person’s pain. It’s just very unorthodox for a pastor or Christians to use curse words or edgy terms to affirm one’s grief. But shouldn’t we be real about how we feel? And shouldn’t I sit with you in that pain and affirm your difficulties in life?
Some may think this is taking the Lord’s name in vain, but I’m not using words that attack another human or speaking horrific words on behalf of God. I’m trying to take the pain we see in Psalm 22:1 or Psalm 88 and give it 21st century words.
And, with me, it’s always a safe space to use the words that describe the pain in your hearts.
Are you challenged by this language? Do you agree with these words? Voice your thoughts below.