Life has always been both marvelous and maddening: filled with both utter satisfaction and overwhelming suffering.

I often find myself struggling to balance the extreme polarities of joy and pain. But now, more than ever, I believe it is critical to embrace the balance. To give ourselves permission and space to hold both gratitude and grief. I’ve written a poem and pray it meets you in the middle of whatever you are holding today.


We are grateful and we grieve. We lift our hands in gratitude for the many blessings we hold. We still have so much to be thankful for. We also lift our white flags in surrender, desperate for five minutes of peace and quiet amidst the battles of sharing and schoolwork.

We are grateful and we grieve. We are grateful for the teachers and technology that make distance learning possible. We grieve the cancellation of all the experiences this school year held for our students. Graduations. Field trips. School plays. Sporting events.

We are grateful and we grieve. We are grateful for the sound of laughter and joy when our kids play nice. We grieve the sound of silence that has long escaped our ears. We are grateful to have more time together as a family. We grieve the peace of solitude that is ever out of reach.

We are grateful and we grieve. We are grateful for services that keep us connected as we stay six feet apart. We zoom. We hangout. We facetime. And we grieve the vibrancy of being in a room filled to the brim with the people we love. Screens are a sad substitute for a heart’s embrace.

We are grateful and we grieve. We are grateful that we can put food on the table, even if it’s just a PBJ. We grieve the taste of favorite dishes that will soon fade to memories as long-loved businesses close their doors after generations of service.

We are grateful and we grieve. We are grateful to the staff of our churches for making online worship a thing to experience. After all, the church is not a building. We grieve the sensation of the Holy Spirit filling a room full of hands raised high in Hallelujahs. Oh, how our souls long to worship together again.

We are grateful and we grieve. We are eternally grateful for those on the front lines, sacrificing their safety for the benefit of those in need of immediate care. We grieve the loss of countless men, woman and children. The celebrations of life postponed until family and friends can gather hand in hand to honor their loved one. We grieve for families who are unable to visit loved ones in nursing homes and hospitals.

We are grateful and we grieve. We balance our gratitude of having a house full of chaos, noise, children, pets, zoom calls and petty arguments with our spouse while we hold grief for those who sit alone today, longing for the sound of a familiar voice, a visit from a friend or a caring touch of compassion and love.

We are grateful and we grieve.


Today, give yourself permission to be grateful and to grieve. Let’s practice this is the form of a breathe prayer:

  • As you breathe in, give yourself permission to be grateful.
  • As you breathe out, give yourself permission to grieve.

Take a moment to think about what you are grateful for and what you are grieving. As you feel it rising up, let it come.

  • Breathe in gratitude.
    • Breathe out grief.
      • Breathe in gratitude.
        • Breathe out grief.


Since God chose you to be the holy people He loves, you must clothe yourself with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Make allowances for each others faults and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourself with love, which binds all things together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.

Colossians 3:12-15, NLT


Father God, through the power of the Holy Spirit, bound with the love of Jesus Christ, help us be kind and gentle with ourselves and others as we learn the balance of holding both our gratitude and our grief.

Fill us with a supernatural patience as we approach exhaustion and insanity in such unprecedented times.

Help us keep small things small, so we have the energy and wisdom to handle the big things well.

Build up our endurance to give others around us permission to not be perfect or have it all together all the time. Help us show that same grace to ourselves when we fall short.

Give us humility to ask forgiveness when we’ve messed up and to offer forgiveness when someone has wronged us.

Let the love of Christ, which binds all things together in perfect harmony, wrap around our families to keep us bound together during these trying times.

Strengthen us with your perfect love to stay unified and live together in peace.

Help us to figure out what it looks like for our family to live peacefully together and make any necessary changes to make that happen, or atleast to put us closer to that goal.

And in all of our grief, in holding all the things that are cancelled, closed or on hold until further notice, help us to also hold tightly to all we are grateful for.

Teach us to grieve well as we practice gratitude.

In Jesus name.


If you found hope and solidary here, please comment below with what was most meaningful to you.

Know someone who could use some encouragement? Please share this with them!

Andrea M. Nyberg

WIFE · MOM · WRITER · SPEAKER · based in San Jose, CA.

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