Tag Archives: Grief & Healing

Frank, honest, sometimes painful look at grief and hope of healing.

Tears On The Sand

Tears on the Sand © twyatt 2016Now you cry salty tears.

Do you not remember that once upon a time, the grains of sand beneath your feet were part of the majestic mountains miles and miles from here? All was, and is now, one great connective existence that knows no time nor limitations; no separation from itself.

Do you not remember that these tears that fall, that you so insistently claim as coming from your own story of pain and sorrow, come and carry the same saltiness of your oceans – far, wide, seemingly and endlessly deep.

I’ll try. I’ll try, she whispers.

Fear and fatigue give you temporary amnesia in this life and time; they soldier in armies that blot with dark patches what you knew then. But you remember now; as you wiggle your toes in the sand. As you lick your parched and quivering lips, you taste the trace and evidence of salt derived from the residue of all of the vast and receding waters before you. Before this moment.

I surrender. I surrender, she says.

In your surrender of tears, in the taste of their essence, you remember that these are not singly your tears that fall on the sand of sorrow, or joy. Teardrops fall, sand receives, and you take your place in the cycle of loss and renewals, grief and triumphs, despair and hopes; and once again fear and fatigue are marshalled back into the light of God’s truth of continuous connection.

I know. I know, she nods.

You remember again that these tears are yours, and not yours. They fall from and through you from the past, and for the future. They hold all of the loss of a lifetime, and beyond. They water the sands and the oceans of God’s infinite One.

For all. For all, she weeps.

And in this precious, sandy moment of sacred knowing, you understand that it is in forgetting your self that you belong. And in belonging, you find the Self as God created.

Thank you. Thank you, she prays, for these tears on the sand.

Rock of Light

Standing in the Fog

These are the words that showed up this morning, after having read about the hate crimes of our week, our year, our country, our communities. And, after running to and reading Romans 13.

Rock of Light
from the Coastal Edges of Oregon

Push on through the fog of confusion and conflicted rights; beyond your simple and somewhat defended ideas of what your breaking world needs, and does not need.

Stand firm again on the rock of Light and love, with assurances that Love does raise the most wicked. Love does heal the violently ill. Love does work its ethereal ways into the least of our fears, and tames the most strident terrors of our imaginations.

And realities.

Love, even in the smallest of doses or most fleeting of thoughts, does make a difference.

You question your contribution to the solution, and the problem. You doubt the efficacy, and the aim. But truth is, the loudest and broadest of strokes are not needed in this moment. Quiet and small bristles collect to form a shape, a word, a message.

And change.

The power to change is not in the volume of extremes but in the responsibility taken; a chosen and conscious shift from harm to compassion.

In your single thought. In your mind.
In your silent prayer. In your heart.

And why would you dismiss the might of a single act as less than the ramparts?

Can you say when sand becomes a pebble, pebble a rock, rock – the ocean’s floor?

When one drop becomes mist, mist rain, rain – the water’s deep?

Or when a breeze lightly carrying the scent of summer turns to gust, gust wind, wind – the waves of change?

Pebble to rock. Mist to oceans. Breeze to wind.  Until you can answer to the pivot of these, believe that the single and simplest choice of compassion is love enough to change the tide of hate.

Rock of Light, illuminate these meager means to love in me.

The Ordinary Now

Winter CowI have found myself drinking in the deep elixir of staring back into ordinary moments from my childhood in Illinois.

Drawn from a well of a bluish dark winter and an almost-night walk from farmhouse to fence; seeing in the fast fading light the corrugated aluminum water trough anchored to rock solid mud; breaking the nearly frozen ice with a broom handle as my pony Tim-Tam stood by – his head dropping, nearly touching the last surviving blades of grass made fragile by the frost and freezes, days upon days in January’s Midwest.

I don’t have a lot of memories of my childhood.

I don’t remember conversations or teacher’s names. I can’t tell you about birthday parties or my grandpa’s funeral, or much about how I spent time other than lonely languid days in my room, or sitting on the dirt at the edge of the hedge in an ocean of my family’s grain fields.

So it has been odd for me that in the past few years, every so often, one seemingly nothing yet distinctive moment comes to mind with such a clarity of experience, senses, and wonder that I’ve looked for a place to paint its emergence. And so it has become not non-descript at all.

And now, for some inexplicable reason, this seems like a place to try. Like finding a place to lodge a wee bit of my story into an already wailing wall.

And a prayer.

There was no one there but me, a light wind, and the terrible cutting cold. I was probably wearing a pair of Dad’s tall rubber work boots from the back porch, but I am sure I had on the tan car coat with heavy-duty zipper and fur lined hood – the edges of the sleeves made gray by the years of us all wearing it to do outdoor chores. The inside, slightly ripped flannel lining softened the blow of inclement weather.

The walk from the porch to pasture is not very far; not very far at all.

I can hear the dead of stillness; the crunch of my footsteps against the path of packed snow and ice. And I can nearly see now, all these years and places and faces later the dreary dead of winter painted in brushes of grays and blues – crowding out the once sparkling winter white of snow.

And that’s all.

That’s all there is to describe, and yet it is enough to tell so much about me. Or why else would it be the near clearest of memory following me and finding me after all of these years?

I think sometimes to try to paint that color, or to speak about it to someone out loud. But what sound can you use to explain a fifty-year ring of silence, and what shade could possibly match a landscape of color caught between dusk and night?

So I’ll leave it here.

As my nod to winter and anniversary of another January without the family who was in the warm house that day of winters way back when, and in wonder as to how our pasts can be provocative reminders to notice and cherish the ordinary now.

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.

On The Doorway of Advent

This meditation was originally written on December 17, 2012, five days after the horrific shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.  And on an anniversary of a phone call to my sister, Trudy, that was the beginning of her journey to the hospital and a month later, going Home. In that original post I added a post script hinting of hope as carried by grief – a surprising conduit of Love.

This year I find in God’s good grace of time and mercy that my personal darkness has lightened; yet, I cannot help but be aware of the greater gray fears we are collectively experiencing in a world gone seemingly mad. So again I find myself reaching for the hope that I might find on this doorway of Advent and by the light of God’s promise, Christ.  And enter into prayers as many of us come together in our readings, listenings and waiting in this season of our lives.

May God meet you and keep you in Love today, no matter the matter of fears and worry.

Theresa Wyatt Prebilsky
December 17, 2012

Morning time brought a hopeful message for this heavy time of grief – my own as well as the Country’s as we grieve the tragedy and loss of such innocent children and brave adults.  In meditation and journaling, two vivid visuals came as guides to living in the season of Light while darkness clearly exists.

In the first, I’m standing on a sturdy and thick layer of encrusted ice over a fast-flowing river; looking down past my feet and through the ice, seeing the river of personal grief running southward fast and purposefully.

I am not comfortable.  I don’t like the possibility that I am being asked to force frozen feelings and sacrifice expression that might also catch in it’s net-of-numbness what joy might accidentally seep to the surface. But then a question is posed from a different perspective than my own, self-centered sense of sadness and neediness.

Why would you not step aside from your feelings long enough and step up to My service in a time when others are also struggling with Christmas and all the other rough stuff that is going on?

Even in my resistance I can recognize the beckoning-to-service call as God’s. Then, a second guidance begins with soft and warm tones unlike the first.

Crawl into the folds of your Father’s love.

And I did.

I sat silently in the golden warmth and love of God long enough and with just enough willingness to begin noticing a change in my relationship with grief and gratitude.

Understanding begins to thaw.

What at first seemed discordant, this fixation of darkness in a season of light, becomes an authentic doorway into the healing of Advent. An invitation to come and enter as I am into the strength and support of my Holy Parent as God is – a rock-solid yet transparent floor of ice beneath my feet; allowing me to see but not drown in these very real rushes of sadness, grief or despair.

By love I am encouraged to return again and again to these visuals of care and protection whenever fear or self-pity tempts me out of service to others, or when sadness threatens to steal the fresh, crisp new joy that I might find in the light of God’s promise, Christ.

And, once again there is new hope for living, authentically, in the season of Light while darkness exists.