Sunday, December 29, 2013

"Happy" ? New Year

Just when we think we’ve made it through the holidays with all the glaring messages of “joy”,  “peace”, and “hope” . . . the very emotions we find hard to feel . . . just when we are beginning to recover . . . here comes “Happy New Year”!  

And once again we are caught wondering how to respond.  “Happy” just doesn’t seem to be the appropriate adjective.   Somehow we didn’t see this surprise coming.  We concentrated on making it through December . . . and had failed to realize that January would jump up and grab us.  

So, how do we feel about a “new year”?   Often the response is confusing . . . because in one way a new year feels fresh, unburdened by all the sadness that this year has held . . . so a new year feels welcome.   But on the other hand, this new year will be the first year without our child. Something inside doesn’t want to enter that . . . it seems to only increase the distance in time from when our child was in our presence and in our arms.  So, “happy”?  Not exactly. 

Yet, the truth of time takes over and we have no choice but to live into this next year, so what might help?  

- moments of intentional remembering, cherishing the gift of our child’s life and love
- time spent with others who understand and are patient with our roller coaster ride
- making efforts - even small ones - to see the goodness that is still around us
- listening for what our precious child’s life has taught us
- and more moments of intentional, deeply grateful remembrances

May this next year be one in which your heart grows strong, resilient and grateful.  
May you continue to realize that the worth of a life is not measured in years but in love given and received. 

May you find a peace deep within that you didn’t know was even possible.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

in the shadow of Christmas

in the shadow of blinking Christmas lights
            of holiday parties and celebrations
surrounded by gift shoppers
            and promises of peace, hope and joy

it is winter in my heart

i am the cold, cloudy days
            the damp leafless trees
            the stark stillness of the night sky
            filled with longing

so . . . Holy One who knows the seasons of our hearts
            be the sunrise that warms
            be the breeze that freshens
            be the light that illuminates

and help me give birth to Your Love that is ever deeper and more sustaining

Sunday, December 8, 2013

the grief teacher

I met a grief-teacher this week.  

Like us, she has lost a child and is making her painful way through that maze of emotion and the struggle to make meaning.  Much of our conversation was familiar to my own heart and similar to my conversations with other broken hearted parents.  But she shared an amazing insight that has opened my eyes yet again.  It is a beautiful thing to me when people whose sadness is all consuming reveal the particular healing wisdom their loss has taught them. 

She described herself as an athlete - someone for whom strenuous physical activity has always been invigorating and essential to her daily life.  But that now after such a disintegrating loss, she has been “slowed to a stroll”.   Her energy is so depleted that strolling is all she can manage.  Still, it is essential, so she takes long slow walks in parks and in quiet neighborhoods - surrounded by the reassurance of the natural world.   She said that one day she thought of how she feels like she is 80 years old !  So, she decided to volunteer her time at a near by retirement home to walk with people who needed a companion.  Now she strolls with people who need simple exercise and also a supportive companion to go with them.  

The beauty of that gift . . . born out of broken hearted need . . . is a doorway, a teaching that grabs my heart and makes it stop to listen.