Thin Light of the Season

This entry was originally posted a year ago near the third anniversary of my sister’s leaving. I offer it here as a meditation on what grief might look like for some in this season of preparing.

Thin Light of the Season
Theresa Wyatt Prebilsky

This is what I know (for now) about grief:

Grief is not proprietary.
Grief can not be compared.
All grief needs notice and attention and care.
And, grief never ends – we only stop crying out loud.

Yesterday, I cried out loud. I cried alone. I cried out to others. I marched out my mindful prayers, but my heart felt too broken to heal.

That’s how faith looks sometimes.

But this morning, even though sadness lingers like weakness after a fever has broken, self-pity has eased.  My spirit leads me to my Bible and invites me to enter the familiar reminders of God’s presence and love; my heart is softened.  I welcome the mystical way of God’s Word finding me by spirit, and how automatically this well worn book falls open to heavily bookmarked and underlined pages.

“The Lord is with you.”

My heart begins to open wide, then wider, and my eyes land on what feels suited for the pain in my heart and this hope in my God. Yet, as right as they seem, I crouch with whispered apologies to invisible critics who might condemn me for claiming Mary’s words as my own solace. I cower but push on and repeat and embrace them in this season of preparing.

“Here I am, the servant of the Lord. Let it be with me according to your word.”

I hear them, and I repeat them. I know that yesterday I could not have walked into their spirit, but today they bring my heart into gratitude, focus, clarity, and the simplicity of purposeful relationship with God.

“Here I am, the servant of the Lord. Let it be with me according to your word.”

In these, there is no room for wallow or wonder about what has gone, is no more, or what might yet leave. They elicit no invitation to define, declare or deliver a set of petitions or defects to the Lord. They ask me to reply in the fullness of being one of God’s, loved by God, remembered by God, accompanied by God. Abandonment is banished, or at least tempered by, “The Lord is with you.”

What glorious compassion and companioning love comes in the echo of Mary’s words, coming in the morning after merciful sleep has loosened some of the worst of the strangleholds of dogged grief. I am grateful for the healing time that has been purchased by another night and day, and find that a surprisingly authentic response of “I love you” comes like breathing out after in, dawn after dark and life after leaving.

I rejoin Nature’s rhythm and way with fullness of heart, and pray again, “Here I am, the servant of the Lord. Let it be with me according to your word.”

Yes, sadness lingers, but I can see again the thin light of the season. It draws me again to grounded gratitude and service.

Forgiven, forgotten

Sunlight stares downward the darkest of nights
Villains are fought on sloped landscapes of ice
External extremes meet with awkward embrace
Silent-still settles, silhouetted in grace

Morning enlivens the deadwood of sin
Seedlings are launched by the meadow’s soft wind
Locks of logic land on the altars of mutes
Instincts are tempered, then pulled up by their roots

Afternoon shadows deep decades of doubt
Fig trees are blooming past peril of drought
Inky clouds of witness rain truth on the known
Idol hearts are frozen, then captured in stone.

Mellifluous moonlight spates decay of souls
Stratum of histories casts layers and folds
Faithful foretelling rise by sword in the spring
Visions birthed as a child, but dreamt by a King

Starlight is flooding the driest of tears
Crimson drapes hang in the chamber of fears
Swaddling transfigures to impermanent shroud
Seasons of sins forgiven, forgotten now.

Walking Prayers

Walking PrayersPraying for peace one step at a time.

Dedicating prayers as we walk a mile, or just a few steps, can make us powerful warriors against the enemies of our minds and in our world. Choose a route, or a step, and pray for a loved one or an enemy – perceived or real.

Experiment with dedicating a walk to a friend in loss or need or illness – see if you can hold for her hope and loving thoughts the entire way.

Be willing to pray for your “enemies” of doubt and fear, or boss or politician. Dig deep into your treasure chest of pride and prejudice and choose to pray for their enlightenment, and for your own. Pray for them and their families; pray that all hearts be softened and for your own transformation from fear to love.

Be a moveable priest in prayer and prove that we are not impotent against wars when we enlist and follow Christ’s commands of love.

“We cannot run to all parts of the world to bind up the wounds of the sick of body or assist the mentally disturbed, but the contemplative soul in deep prayer before the throne of the Father is exercising the healing power of Jesus Christ.” (The Jesus Prayer, George A Maloney, S.J., Dove Publications)