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Posts tagged ‘candle’

Grief and Loss: “I don’t know what to say.”

Last week I spoke at a church in town. They asked me to talk about grief and loss, for ten to fifteen minutes—make it personal. An icy, snowy night, by 7:00 p.m. it had been dark three hours. My stamina was in the single digits, and I was cold. A dark chocolate woven rabbit fur scarf wrapped my neck and shoulders.

Standing in the dim lit church, behind the podium, I fingered the scarf tails, felt warm breath flood my chest, whispered a prayer to God, and then surprised myself by speaking, “My name is Pegge. I don’t know what to say.”

My eyes traveled around the wood church pews. Men, women, and a few young people had gathered. They spaced themselves, some sitting together, others alone. I took another breath, and again spoke, my voice amplifying through silent attentiveness:

“I don’t know what to say. And this is the experience of grief.”

More words came, “We don’t know what to say, or how to act. We may be fatigued, not think clearly, forgetful, and have very little energy. Memories surge, catch us off-guard. Some full of sorrow, others with laughter. The ache—numb, raw, and stabbing comes and goes with no predictable time-frame. So we show up as best we can, take ourselves lightheartedly, give ourselves permission to rest, say no, and feel what we feel.”

I think words tumbled from me about how grief makes tracks through the chill of loss, of believing that we are not alone, being willing to receive from others, and ask for help. I know I said, “I trust God. I am not alone.” After ten minutes, I concluded, and breathed into the stillness of listening hearts. I walked back to the first pew, sat down, silent, remembering. A card laid in my open bible, a bookmark for the passage I’d planned to read. Two words: Only connect… . A cello played, candles flamed for loved ones who died.

Tonight, what chimes for me again, is that whether we are the one grieving, or the one who accompanies a friend or loved one, there will be times when words do not, should not, and will not suffice. Dense bone weariness grows. Or, memories of play and joy surface with vivid intensity. At times like these, I pray we may give ourselves permission to be still. Breathe. Simply be present to ourselves, and one another, with gentleness, compassion, kindness.

–Pegge, December 16, 2010

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Earthquake, Pray.

The slightest ground movement garnered my attention when I lived in Southern California. I grew an earthquake alert awareness. That sense diminished when I lived in Colorado–a low seismic activity region. Now I live in Alaska, on the rim of fire, where we shake, rumble, and roll often. *&#@, we just did again, but these are tiny tremors.

My heart is always moved by unforeseen tragedy.

Thus, I pray for the people of Haiti, those who await news about friends and family, and what the time ahead will bring. As an editor for Spiritual Directors International, I wrote this simple prayer for our blog and international learning community. As spiritual companions, we listen deeply. We offer presence to individuals and in world situations. When we offer our prayer and compassionate action, and invite others to join us, we live into the call of being global citizens of contemplative action. I share this with you; invite you to pray with me. Simply notice how your relationship with God or the sacred invites you to respond. Make a difference in a way that fits for you.

Prayer for Haiti – and everyone in need of such a prayer.

Together let us join in prayer
wrap a mantle of compassion upon Haiti
for the babies, sisters, brothers, workers, family, friends, strangers, enemies, animals, and more, more, more who died and will die,
who are wounded and ache
and will ache, suffer,
who grieve, breathe in shock
crawl
paw through the rubble of time
a violent collapse of daily routine.

…..

May fresh air breathe with vital necessity.
May we sacrifice and share.
May we enable compassionate action, and service—now. Right now.
May our mantle of compassion console and heal.
And may our prayer build grateful action, life.

Amen.

Lighting a candle is considered a sacred action in many traditions. Take a moment to pause, and Light at candle at gratefulness.org.

Click here for a list of charitable organizations active in Haiti.


Prayer for Haiti
Together let us join in prayer
wrap a mantle of compassion upon Haiti
for the babies, sisters, brothers, workers, family, friends, strangers, enemies, animals, and more, more, more who died and will die,
who are wounded and ache
and will ache, suffer,
who grieve, breathe in shock
crawl
paw through the rubble of time
a violent collapse of daily routine.
…..

May fresh air breathe with vital necessity.
May we sacrifice and share.
May we enable compassionate action, and service—now. Right now.
May our mantle of compassion console and heal.
And may our prayer build grateful action, life.