Tag Archives: Grief & Healing

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

Being loved, timelessly.

Our trip west, through our nation’s national parks in Utah and Arizona’s landscapes, continues to exceed my expectations! Those pesky expectations are being left, quite literally, in the dust.

On our hikes, or traveling on black ribbons of asphalt through other-world-like spaces, I’m noticing, and thinking of Mom and Dad alot. Missing them in a sweet way.

They liked traveling in our states. They would have loved to hear about our adventures. I miss not sharing this with them, and I miss their interests in us.

I am grateful this morning for this tender awareness. It gets lost, or misplaced; drowned out in the hub-bub of city and chores. I like to think that they and Trudy are watching and smiling from their place of sublime wonder and love. Lofty ideals grounded in this almost-hurt in my chest for being their daughter and sister still here.

I drift.

There are not many things we know for sure about how life and death and before or after life and death works, but this is one thing I do know.

My family loved and loves me, and wanted and wants goodness for me. Not everyone is left with such a gift when left here.  I have come to know this by listening.  That this knowing of being loved by a parent or sibling, even when there is strife and struggles, is not a given; not always the case.

But here in these wide open spaces I am found knowing my reality of being loved, timelessly.  It creeps up out of the rocks with its tender yet powerful truth. Almost overwhelms me with its reminder.

Love is eternal.

Older than these millions-of-years-old formations, deeper than the canyons that I get to see and hike, love endures.  Lasts.

I am still loved, and, so are you.

More Art than Reason

I’m beginning to believe it is going to be art, not reason, that will save us. And by us I mean all of us.

Not a side, or tribe, or politic or country. But saved from the collective fear that has stolen our ideals of freedom, justice, equality, and most of all humans caring for one another.

If we were to accept that we have but one face, as children of God, then fear fades…like when you meet your first person of different color or religion or sexual preference and discover your coworker, fellow student, or friend-of-a-friend, retreatant or person sitting at the other end of your pew isn’t so bad, or different, after all.

One face that we all recognize as our own, and hopefully with the compassion and compass of more art than reason.

Roque Dalton’s “Like You”
A poem and a poet from El Salvador,
and shared by Hannah Atkins

Like you I
love love, life, the sweet smell
of things, the sky-
blue landscape of January days.

And my blood boils up
and I laugh through eyes
that have known the buds of tears.
I believe the world is beautiful
and that poetry, like bread, is for everyone.

And that my veins don’t end in me
but in the unanimous blood
of those who struggle for life,
love,
little things,
landscape and bread,
the poetry of everyone.

Wash me over with Love

Where dust and grime has collected under years of neglect,
not noticed
Wash me over with Love

Where too parched a land has cracked, deep crevices exposing
deeper pain
Wash me over with Love

Where withered limb bends low close to breaking, nearly touching
the shadow of itself
in separation
Wash me over with Love

Where imagination has all but dried up after too many disappointments in itself
and its reflection
Wash me over with Love

Where histories harden hearts thirsty for recognition
and re-writes
Wash me over with Love

Where storybook pages turn yellow and crackling brittle from
not being turned and read
Wash me over with Love

Where clay river bottoms draw dry, no longer with purpose
of transport or host to fishes
Wash me over with Love

Water always runs to its lowest level;
naturally seeking and serving
the driest and thirstiest of me.
It is the last place of puddle that is filled first
when it rains again.
Wash me over with Love

Thin Light of the Season

This entry was originally posted near the third anniversary (now sixth) 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 by 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.

The Arrogance Of My Belief

Many of us are searching; wrangling our faith and reason against the pain and suffering cast by nature’s net over our, or loved one’s lives. Entire lives have been changed, and taken. Homes and precious memories have been made into seemingly meaningless, soggy piles of rubble on the side of the road.

Then I come across this. Yet another reference to Job, the possible poster-child of suffering, and one most perfect paragraph that reflects and reminds me, in words and ways that I could no better express, both the arrogance and grounding comfort of my belief.

In case this writing may also meet and lift you where you are today, I share it here, with love.

“Ordinary Mysticism”, Dennis Tamburello, O.F.M

Fragile Made Strong

Maddie has been pretty upset. Not eating. I think she knows many are in peril’s way. Today as the rain let up and it’s looking like we are spared, she ate. I found her here in front of a box I had moved to higher ground.

It seems a striking reminder that we and our pets and our earth are fragile. And in need of gentle care. But, as I see the courageous hearts and hands of Houston come out in droves I am reminded that we are strong too. Made strong by our inherent sense of community and love, and a God of our understanding.

I pray in this time of rescue and recovery that we listen and allow the gentle and the strong in us to guide our pace and service. With love.

Posted August 29, 2017; the first break in Hurricane Harvey’s rains.