Handling grief

"The Fault in Our Stars" is a popular teen romance story written by author John Green. The book has sold more than nine million copies and is a hit summer movie, exceeding Tom Cruise’s recent sci-fi action film at the box office. The story features sixteen- year-old Hazel Grace Lancaster who is diagnosed with life-threatening thyroid cancer. Reluctantly Hazel attends a support group where she is introduced to Augustus Waters, a cancer survivor in remission. Augustus and Hazel quickly fall in love with each other’s witty personalities. The story takes readers on an emotional journey through the highs of love and humor and the depths of grief. So, what is captivating about this story to teens? More than the romantic drama, it provides a lens through which to view the life of a teen who struggles with a life-threatening illness. The audience can’t help but feel the weight of Hazel’s pain as she processes grief not only for herself but also for everyone around her.

Everyone Grieves

Grief is an emotion that many people try to sweep under the rug. The reality is that everyone needs to grieve at some point and process her or his emotions. Teenagers especially can be more sensitive during times of grief. Besides losing a loved one, teens may also grieve the loss of friendship, breakups, parents’ divorce, transition to a new school, illness, being cut from a team or musical, change in social status, or a failed class. Everyone deals with grief differently, but it’s important to deal with grief in healthy ways.

Facing Our Grief

Whenever a tragedy occurs it’s common to hear the phrase: God has a plan. While believing in God’s sovereignty is essential in our faith, it’s also important to allow ourselves to “sit” in the pain of our emotions. One of the most powerful lines in the book is when Augustus says, “Pain demands to be felt.” Going through the pain is part of the healing process.

Question of the Day: Have you known anyone with a life-threatening illness?

Key Scriptures: Lamentations 3:22-23; John 11:17-35; 2 Corinthians 1:3-9

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