Chapter XII on Grief


Grief- dancing with the limp

It gives me a measure of peace that the Hebrew word for God’s Glory, Kavod, is a word of weights and measures – a word with an inherent heaviness to it.  Grief is heavy.  It drags one down like a burlap bag of scrap metal over one’s shoulder – it weighs down, heavy, and sharp metal ends – jagged, rusty tear-stained bits poke through the burlap and then the shirt into one’s fleshy back. And there is then sticky blood with sticky sweat.  Grief is sticky too.

The circumstances of life to take people and things from us. It seems so unfair in the moment, but I remind myself in the reading of this chapter that the pain does subside over time and that things simply do not stay the same.  Would I like it if they did?  Really?  I say “yes” when in the moment of grief – “yes, I want things to stay the same! Yes!” but then when I look back over the arc of my life, I can see that the griefs appear on the time line like drops of blood, dark and crispy and even flakey.  But from a distance they are small, insignificant – so unlike how they felt in the moment.

I am not good at self-care, largely because my parents never taught it.  I am, as are so many, having to parent myself.  I am having tochach my inner 1-6 year old boy that I am ok.  I am having to parent my 9-11 year old that the world is safe to explore.  I am having to parent my inner teenager that some things need to be set aside. And I am needing my inner adult to host these conversations well – especially when I feel grief.  So let this chapter on grief remind me that I am my friend too and that I can now care for myself and can let my friends and family care for me when I am in grief.  Let me find the soft chairs, the warm wood fires and the oily, satin haunches of my dog Kai on which to lay my head in grief’s heaviness.

But let me also know that the heaviness of grief is heavy because of God’s glory.  When I grieve, God descends and though my eyes are slits and watery, there is glory all around me in the colors of sunsets.  And let me remember too that the colors of sunsets and those of sunrises are so often similar – such that the end of something might just be the beginning of something else. Can I let go of the one to take the other?

Nothing is certain.  Everything is changing.  Always.  And that change brings grief the way fire brings smoke.  So let me allow grief to knock at my door and let me even welcome it to the warm fire with a glass of port and some warm Blue Saga Cheese on a good, dark, stormy ginger snap and let us talk together, grief and me, about what is lost and what might be ‘round the next corner too.  Both.

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