Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Of Grief, Grace and Gratitude
Volumes have been written,
poems have been penned,
songs have been sung
and journals have been filled
by human beings grappling
with the unavoidable reality
that the deep pain of loss
is a part of the deep joy life.
You can read the books,
memorize the "stages,"
counsel other people as they walk their journey
and nothing really prepares you
when the loss is yours.
When the grief is raw.
When the emptiness overwhelms.
You know to plan around the "big things."
The first birthday to get through.
The first holidays to manage.
Stuff like that.
You can't predict the "other things" --
the things that slap you upside the head
when you haven't planned for them.
The telemarketer call, for example.
Or losing it in the produce aisle
because you're suddenly NOT buying bananas
because you don't like bananas
but she liked bananas so you always bought bananas
and now you're NOT buying bananas.
And that's when grace happens.
In a million small ways
grace seeps into the space where grief dwells.
It is the light that comes in through the cracks.
It is the hug from a colleague or the email from afar.
It is the text message or the Facebook post.
It is the invitation to Monday Night Football
and the offer to pick up what you need at the grocery store.
It is the latte in the coffee house
with the friend who has walked where you are walking
and so "gets it" that you don't even need words.
It is the hymn that you've sung dozens of times
suddenly hitting you with new and deep meaning
as you're carrying the Gospel book back up the chancel steps:
Can it be that from our endings, new beginnings you create?
Life from death, and from our rendings, realms of wholeness generate?
Take our fears, then, Lord and turn them into hopes for life anew:
Fading light and dying season sing their Glorias to you.
And then comes the gratitude.
Not for the loss
which is still an inexplicably cruel, painful and gaping hole in your life.
But for the heightened sense of how precious life is.
How powerful love is.
And how amazing is the grace
that turns what we in our finiteness
cannot help but experience as endings
into new beginnings
grounded in the infinite love of God.