the anti-joel ostseen post on grief


It has been time to update the “why”  section on my Seasons of Signs blog for a few years.

Today was the day as I sat down with the quiet and began to reflect. Rereading my updated page, I realized it’s kind of the Anti-Joel Osteen post in response to his writings about grief a few weeks ago.

We both wrote about seasons as a metaphor in relationship to grief, but Joel doesn’t seem to understand what it means to actually live with the seasons.

Well, of course he doesn’t, he’s a native Texan.

He’s from Houston where for about three weeks a year the temperature is in the 30s and only nine days on average when it’s below freezing. That’s not winter. Right?

Joel thinks there is a “normal” period of grieving and then folks should just get over it. They should not sit in the ashes of their grief. I guess Joel Osteen has never raked the leftover autumn leaves at the beginning of spring. He’s never moved aside those wet half decomposed flat layers of brown after they formed a winter blanket over the soil. Those leaves that died the previous season and fell from the sky enriching the earth that holds my hydrangea, peonies and viburnum. He doesn’t yet realize it’s a deep rich brown because of all that detritus? His writing doesn’t really reflect one who has lived with the seasons. For him, it’s a much simpler duality – old/new, grief/joy, death/life.

Get over it you mourners.

It’s this way of thinking that robs us of the fullness of life.


“He (a man who had lost his wife in a tragic accident) was holding on to the ashes. God wanted to give him beauty, but because he wouldn’t let go of the old, he couldn’t receive the new.”


“I’ve found that in embracing grief and allowing myself to live it, my life has a fullness that feels right. I’m not interested in ending this blog. Grief has no end. But with tenacity, my grief invites me to delve deeper into this life of mine.”


It is the grief that leads us into new life. We don’t stop grieving per se we learn to live in new ways. It can make us more open, humble and hopefully more compassionate to those who are in mourning around us. That’s who Jesus asked us to care for.


Matthew 5:4

“Blessed are those who mourn. For they will be comforted.”  


I have lived with the seasons all my life. And I will live with my grief that same way. Open, honest and appreciative for the lessons I am invited to learn.



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  • Reply
    July 15, 2015 at 11:36 am

    Beautiful… brought me to tears and I thank you for that friend. Sometimes we just need to cry and release. Hope all is well with you :)

    • Jen
      July 15, 2015 at 12:16 pm

      Yes we do. Love you girl. I hope to see you soon. Thank you for reading and replying. It means a lot to me.

  • Reply
    Janet Sunderland
    July 18, 2015 at 3:41 pm

    What a great post. I wonder if his response to grief has less to do with seasons (although your metaphor is fabulously done) and more that he’s too young or inexperienced in death to realize there’s no “getting over.” One may “get used to” but there’s no getting over as you more elegantly said.

    • Jen
      July 19, 2015 at 1:13 pm

      His pastor father died in 1999 six days after Joel preached his first public sermon in his dad’s church. He strikes me as being uneducated in matters of compassion, empathy and love.

  • Reply
    Dawn Downey
    July 19, 2015 at 8:32 am

    Jen, my mother died in 1994. And still, there are moments when I think of her and cry. Not all the time, not every day, not even every year. Thanks for writing about this.

    • Jen
      July 19, 2015 at 12:43 pm

      Thank you Dawn for reading and responding. As the time between my parents’ deaths and where I am right now lengthens, the tears come less often but I am always amazed by what small thing catches my throat.

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