Wednesday, September 24, 2014

facing sacred moments

Every bereaved parent that I have ever talked to has recalled moments when they were overwhelmed by sadness at some unexpected time.  In fact, it is so common to the experience of losing a child that it becomes one of the characteristics of this particular type of grief.  Such moments are sometimes called “triggers” because they inadvertently bring up our deep sense of loss.
            “I was simply walking through the grocery store, thinking of
            our menu for supper when I faintly heard that song being played
            over the din of shoppers’ noise.  And I broke down and cried right
            there in the produce section.” 

If it weren’t so familiar, it would be funny. 

Every bereaved parent that I have ever talked to has struggled with trying to control those moments and expressing frustration and embarrassment with “falling apart” that way – especially in public. 

But, I think of these as “sacred moments”.  

Abraham Heschel (one of our generation’s wisest spiritual voices) says, “The higher goal of spiritual living is not to amass a wealth of information, but to face sacred moments.” 

If we believe this, then overwhelming moments like this,  expected or unexpected,  are worthy of our attention,  not our embarrassment or frustration or even our control.  In fact, I think of them as the moments when the memory of our beloved child is suddenly available to us with a rare clarity. 

Who wouldn’t cherish such a moment? 

Moments, objects, and people are “sacred” when their significance for us is beyond what is obvious – when they mean more than they appear to mean.  So, maybe these unexpected overwhelming emotional experiences are sacred because in that instant our child’s spirit breaks through the barrier of time to be with us. 

Who wouldn’t jump at the chance to “face” a moment like that ? 

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