Embracing Grief To Discover Healing

Yesterday, as I was driving my middle son to handle a task for marching band, I was struck with a memory of my mom driving me on a similar errand when I was about his age.

I was on the basketball team at my school and all of the guys on the team were getting a particular Nike basketball shoe.  We were not very well off.  I am sure the shoes were expensive, and that we couldn't afford them, but she took me to get them anyway.  

I suddenly found myself acutely missing my mom, grieving the passage of time, stunned that my middlest boy was so grown...  

I also realized that I was angry.  I was angry that my mom was gone, angry at myself for not being a better son, angry that I was so sad...   

And then I felt guilty and ashamed at being angry.  

It's the strange milestones that cause grief to return in a flood, just when you think you've started moving beyond it.  And no one really prepares you for how angry it can make you when it does.  

I'm writing this not to elicit sympathy--far from it.  

I am writing this because I feel like so many of us struggle through our grief and losses in the same way.  We move forward away from grief haltingly and hesitantly, enduring the stops and starts of sorrow and anger as we stumble along.  

I read this snippet of a poem by May Sarton this morning and when I did, something turned in my heart:  
Return to the most human, nothing less
Will teach the angry spirit, the bewildered heart,
The torn mind, to accept the whole of its duress,
And pierced with anguish, at last act for love.  
Maybe the way out of grief is not to run from it, but to run toward it.  Maybe instead of being uncomfortable when we break down or fall apart, we should embrace it.  It's our feelings that make us human, after all.  

Maybe in so doing, we can begin to lift our head and see all of the others of us who are hurting.  Maybe then we will begin to understand the pain of others better and learn to let go of our own sadness and anger in order to help take up someone else's burden.  

And when we do, maybe we can begin to find healing for ourselves and for the world. 

May the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.  


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