GraceNotes: Holding the Space for … Reflection
#60 — April 1, 2017
Give sorrow words; the grief that does not speak whispers the o’er-fraught heart and bids it break.
— William Shakespeare
Greetings, Inspired Seekers!
What do you think of in spring? New growth? Beginnings? How about grief? No, that is not probably the first thing that comes to mind during this very green time of year. And yet, grief often arrives without warning, at unexpected times.
We grieve many things. The loss of a pet that provided unconditional love and years of fun, comfort and laughter. The child who grows into adulthood and doesn’t need us in the same way anymore. The loss of treasures by disaster or theft. The unexpected end of a meaningful job or career. All of these are reasons for grief. And, of course, the loss of a beloved. And with this loss, perhaps the most painful grief: the kind where the depth and breadth of the grief is seemingly unending.
For this grief is not just for the one who is no longer with us. It is for their beloveds who are suddenly so fragile, so frail and so wracked by unimaginable pain that there seems to be nothing we can do. And, in that state, we absorb some of that grief and take it in, hoping that we will be a kind of release valve for the unreleasable.
This is the grief that reaches into our center and, with every tear that flows, a piece of our soul melts down the sides of our cheeks. This is the grief that, with every heave, a bit of ourselves is flung into the ether. This is the grief, that when it comes, we long for the blanket of grace to wrap itself around us and those we long to comfort. And we pray that this grace will warm the coldness of this deep, profound sadness. Yes, this is the grief that we know we will experience when we suffer a deep loss. This is the grief we feel for friends we love and feel so inadequate in helping.
All traditions offer paths of healing. The Buddhist tradition reminds us that to be able to suffer alongside someone is a gift that heals both the other and our own broken parts. Within the Christian faith, even Jesus grieved and, through that grief we learned that to grieve with someone is to be of great service. In Judaism, care for the dead and the mourners is of paramount importance and sitting Shiva is a profound and rich expression of sorrow, loss and life. All of these ways for dealing with grief seek to support those in need at one of the most intimately painful times of life.
And so, dear readers, if your spring has been deeply touched by grief, as mine has this year, may you find comfort in those who wrap their arms of grace around you, in the traditions and faith that you hold dear and, most of all, in the trust that it is still spring. And, if you are the grace wrapping itself around the suffering, and feeling that pain, remember that one day, it will again, be green.
Affirmation of the Month: Grief can be the ultimate expression of love. I will offer it wherever it is needed.
The Reverend Dr. Deborah Darlington is a seminary trained Interfaith Minister who holds the space for all who are grieving and performs meaningful memorials that honor the lives and beliefs of all members of our earth family. She can be reached at 215 260 1611 or at GraceMatters@TheSpaceForGrace.com.