I find myself struggling to write this evening. I have been telling myself for a while now that it is time to begin again ("Always we begin again", as St. Benedict reminds) but I have been avoiding. It feels kind of lonely here at the blog and I haven't wanted to face that.
Since a special reader transitioned from this life to the next, as related in my Thanksgiving letter, I have felt a sense of loss. That, in itself, was to be expected. However, with any loss or grief, there are the expected feelings and then a whole host of unexpected feelings, sensations, experiences.
One of those for me has been related to my writing here. I find myself feeling disoriented, as though no longer sure of why or to whom I am writing. Even though this reader was ostensibly not my only reader, it feels as though I am writing into an emptiness, into an unknown space once full of eager anticipation, now vacant and still.
And, as I mentioned above, I have been trying to avoid facing the discomfort this brings. We humans are good at avoiding discomfort and I am no different. I may be able to embrace one aspect of my grief but then am haunted by another and try to hide from it.
We do not get to choose our pain. Trying to only slows the healing of the wound. And so I am here, struggling to write.
It is sort of ironic, I suppose, that I had proposed a time of healing from loss just a few weeks ago in an early November post. Naturally, I was thinking of writing on this topic to help others, not anticipating that I might be the one stunned and wandering aimlessly. This irony can be a good teacher, however, reminding me of the hollowness of words in the face of life's stark realities.
I fear that, in sharing these sensations, I might lead others to imagine that I am barely crawling through each day, pulled down by the weight of grief and sorrow. Let me assure you that this is not the case at all.
Although there certainly are moments of deep sadness, there is much more joy. I feel so privileged to have had the opportunity to walk someone to the very threshold of heaven... But even beyond that, I sense quite deeply that it is more of a beginning than an end.
It is as though God, for a moment, showed His face, that He made His reality more real to me. The gift of His loving embrace at the end of life appears so much clearer now. And His movement in and through my life seems virtually undeniable. Much grace has flowed from this experience, touching many more people than just me.
However, even when we hold this faith, it is our human nature to sorrow and rage about this death of ours. And this is as it should be, for the Holy One did not bring us to life only for us to be swallowed up by death.
There is something - or rather, Someone - much greater for Whom we were created. My heart knows this and that His Truth draws near. In my humanness, my eyes remain blind and my ears deaf in their sorrow; in my spirit, I ready myself for the approach of the true Life, the Life that does not die.
It is now a time of preparation for this advent, a time of cleansing and of change within. It is a pregnant waiting, anticipating new Birth with both fear and wonder. It is an invitation to walk the Way of Love more and more deeply.
This same invitation was given to a young woman centuries ago, the invitation to humbly let go of self in order to make room for the new Life to grow. She was confused and afraid and knew it would be painful.
But she said yes.
Come, let us each bring our own confusion and fear and pain. Let us walk together that we too may learn to say yes to the Way of Love...