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Posts tagged ‘sorrow’

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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Do Meditation and Prayer Include Tears?

Do you think that meditation and prayer eventually encompasses all of our emotions, thoughts, experiences, and patterns of being in the world? Do you believe that prayer can simply begin when we yearn, notice, or respond in some way, to someone, or something? What does this thought evoke in you:

“If you haven’t cried deeply a number of times, your meditation hasn’t really begun.” – Ajahn Chah

When we bubble with joy, ripple with grief, wrestle with angst, or shower care, forgiveness, and concern, we pray. When we notice what grabs our heart and won’t let go, listen and respond to an invitation toward love, healing and forgiveness, we pray. When we encounter our self, another person, or a world concern with vulnerability and compassion, we pray. When we put skin on our inner conviction and choose loving actions, we pray with our life. When we celebrate each other, prayer can erupt!

Prayer is an opening and an encounter that brings us to truly love our selves and one another, even in times of inner aridity, uncertainty, and darkness. Meditation and prayer have the possibility to become a gift for the world, binding us together, creating community, hope and transformation. Prayer can offer a sheltering embrace, a joyful surrender, a passionate conviction.

About those tears…
Tears can erupt in us when we are deeply moved, inspired, or even surprised. Tears show us our angst, radical joy, overwhelming empathy, gratefulness. Tears are tender. Tears teach us how and where we may need to respond. Let us give thanks for our tears, for the clues they offer about what we value, for our caring hearts, for listening to our life and the world we inhabit.

Five minute pause
Pause for five minutes and breathe deeply. Listen to your heartbeat. Be in the present time of now. Allow your inner spirit to connect to what you know to be Sacred, and to the world around you. What do you notice? What bubbles up in you?

Be still. Be grateful. Listen. Then, give thanks for life, no matter what condition it is, on this day, in present time.

  • What tears rise in you–will you give your tears permission to speak your truth?
  • Do you believe that your tears can be a powerful prayer?

Please share.