PRACTICES FOR LIFE

The Work of Grief
 

Most of us, most of the time, would rather do anything else but grieve. And yet it is a God-given capacity that when we experience a loss such as the one searing Orlando's soul, we feel it deeply and need to. Otherwise the choices that follow are too easily based in a retreat from life or aggressively striking out at life rather than in  consciously building a next life together.

To allow time, space and expression to mourn the loss is essential to our own personal health and to the health of the human family in which we participate. It begins the process of healing that makes us ultimately stronger, wiser and more compassionate – in other words able to choose life together again. Nothing replaces what was lost; the question is whether we can choose to LIVE in a way that honors it.

I don’t like grieving because it’s messy and makes me feel vulnerable. Yet vulnerability is also related to the capacity to experience joy and connection. As Brene Brown notes: “We cannot selectively numb emotions; when we numb the painful emotions, we also numb the positive emotions.” They belong to each other.

Being vulnerable to life is not the same thing as being a victim of it. It's more about recognizing limits in the capacity to control what will meet us, and to choose a life-giving response. Vulnerability is the portal; grief is the work. Next steps will follow.

But first, we grieve, and while it has its solitary moments, grief shared joins us into the human family from which will come the creative common ground that enables us to find a better way forward.

We have a placed two copies of our Communal Journal Of Grief in the Bread of Life community room where you are invited to come and give expression to what breaks your heart. Whether you want to write or let your hands pray with art materials, this journal holds your grief/our grief and allows it to be witnessed.

As yo
u engage this holy, hard work, I offer a dream message that arrived in an intense period of my own grief. It came from what I call 'the Voice' and pointed to the gifts of vulnerability:

"Take the courage you need out of the flowers."
 
May we each and together find the courage to be vulnerable, to grieve, and to blossom fully in this world that needs our gifts.