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  • Writer's pictureDavid McNitzky

A Four Letter Word

Way back in May of 2020, I wrote some articles about grief for our church based on the work of Dr. David Kessler. He worked for years with Dr. Elisabeth Kubler Ross and, with her family’s permission, has added a sixth “stage” to the five stages of grief which she detailed in 1969. He writes about this in a helpful book called Finding Meaning. Kessler himself suffered the loss of a son. A colleague shared with me this week that she saw an interview with Kessler about his work on grief. In the interview he stated that “BACK” is a “four letter word.” As with many other four letter words we are better off not having it in our vocabulary especially when it comes to grief.

This insight struck me as appropriate not just in times of personal loss which we may experience, but as very helpful for the time of pandemic in which we currently find ourselves. I think all of us have hoped at some level to go “back” to the way things were twenty months ago- whether at our jobs, in travel, in our health, in relationships, at restaurants and especially for many of us, at church. However, we must realize that there is no going back. Things have changed. They will never be exactly as they were. Even more critically, the focus on going back will likely cause us to miss the future that God and life have for us. It seems that both our faith and nature would have us move FORWARD. Forward is not a four letter word, it may actually be the password to a new and richer experience of life. May God bless you as you move forward on life’s journey.


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