Sunday, January 13, 2013

Visiting: Grief

About a month ago a FreedomFriend gave my OtherOne and I some hard-to-come-by, one-on-one time as we sat in three chairs located in the corner of our church during a Sunday morning service. We had been reeling from November's 'day of disconnection' and were labored by so many questions. During this hour, the topic of grief came up (among so many others) and I was told that I didn't know how to grieve. This was not said with any malice or judgment, just a loving challenge to go learn how to grieve the losses of my life. I know his revelation was accurate because my soul does this funny, grumbly, uneasy thing when words touch the soft spots of unhealed wounds.

That was over a month ago, and his words have been left dangling in front of my heart, untouched but not ignored. It's just that every time I think about that word ... grief ... I get a little apprehensive, like I'm standing on the above pathway look straight into a black hole into which I must choose to walk.

I'm on a journey to discover who I am and who I am not; learning the importance of grieving is part of this process. In this, I am reading the hearts of a few people I am particularly drawn to for one or all of these reasons: 1) their transparency, 2) their unique gift of using words to share stories, and 3) their wisdom and ability to make me think.

I found my way to a post written by a favorite Wordie and was gripped by the below passage. She wrote my heart. So instead of trying to say it better, I just borrowed it.
"I guess that's the thing: I don't want to visit the places I left behind. But maybe if I do, the Way to Freedom and grace will be made a little clearer. Maybe. Maybe it doesn't have to be perfect. Maybe if I write about what happened and what was, who I am will be made clear." Amber Louthan, Maybe, December 2, 2011 
Right now, grief feels like the above pathway--dark and foreboding--but maybe ... just maybe ... the process of walking through grief will not be as daunting as the thought of walking into the unknown. Who knows? I may even come out of it calling grief my friend. If health and wholeness are what I'm after, then the tools to get there may be more forgiving than I think standing on this side of doorway.

But how to enter?
"So I got out my journal and I began to write about losses. Less than a paragraph in my heart connected. If Jesus wept, so could I. And weep I did. Loss is a normal part of life ... Grief is the normal way God allows us to purge the pain of loss and keep a healthy balance in our souls." Bob Hamp, Good Grief, December 3, 2011
Journal: that I know how to do. Cry? I've done my fair share even though I wouldn't consider myself a "crier". Weep? Um, yeah ... we're not on as familiar ground with each other. I've wept, truly wept, only a handful of times in my life. I can recall each incident intimately.

But this journey is one of digging, excavating, discovering and purging. Tunnels may be dark, but there's always a point where light leads you out.

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