Interrupted by grief

Last week was strange. I had two funerals. One was a parishioner. One was a friend’s mother. Both changed the trajectory of my week, as they should have.

Tears welled up easily. I could cry at the drop of a hat, but thankfully, nobody was wearing one. I was somewhat surprised by grief and yet, I am not surprised.

I was surprised at how tender and sad I felt. I was surprised at how these two deaths dredged up other grief. Grief has a way of reminding us of other grief. I know that somehow I should know that, but I guess I choose to forget or ignore that fact.

Grief interrupts the day, the thoughts, the visit to the grocery store. Grief interrupts until one can make space for it, the time for it. Nobody wants to make time for grief, so it interrupts with tears at the airport or some other seemingly inopportune time.

We don’t want grief to interrupt, but it is part of the whole deal about love. When we love, at times, we lose. That loss hurts and that is okay. Feeling hurt or sad is okay because that hurt and sorrow are the other side of the love. The hurt and sorrow won’t last forever and the love is still there.

Nobody wants to feel sad, but that is part of love, part of life. Grief may interrupt for a little while, but love is always there.

 

Mercy

I think we need mercy. We need a lot of mercy. Certainly we want people to be merciful with us, but we need to offer more mercy.

Mercy is like a reset button. The argument stops. We put down our weapons. The heaving and snarling are replaced with tears. The cuts receive a bandage. We stop, we breathe, we reset.

Mercy cannot be taken. Mercy can only be given. Mercy is the gift from the one who it would seem is in no position to give. Mercy shifts who we expect would be powerful.

Mercy is the gift of forgiveness from the cross. Mercy is the choice of the injured party. Mercy is the recognition that I can do nothing more without you unless we are together.

We need some mercy.

What a difference a day makes

I actually keep a journal. It is leather-bound with blank heavy pages. I received it as a gift a few years ago. I recommend this practice of writing down what is going on in one’s life, crazy thoughts, pictures, etc.

I like to whine in my journal. Not much of what I write is very profound. Sometimes I doodle. I like the flexibility of not having lines, so I can go where-ever I want on that page.

The discipline of writing everyday is really important, especially if one is trying to improve as a writer. Of course, that is not why I keep the journal. Certainly writing everyday helps, but I write in my journal to try to work through ideas, emotions and frustrations, and record events that are important to me. I try to write frequently, but I do not write every day. I do keep the discipline of dating each entry.

The date is vital for remembering. I should probably do this more often, but I go back and re-read my journal entries sometimes. Having the date reminds me of where or when I was when I recorded something.

I will wince sometimes when I read what I wrote. I can see how far I have come and recognize how much farther I have to go, as an individual. I get the benefit of hindsight. I can read where I was and marvel about all that happened to get me where I am.

Sometimes the path seems obvious, yet somehow I could not see it at that time, in my writing. There were signs along the way like shiny pennies on the sidewalk and I just kept moving, writing, oblivious. The re-reading can be agony, but necessary.

I re-read and I have decided that all my journals should be burned, unopened, upon my death. The wisdom gleaned is not for anyone else, but me. Still, I need to re-read them and remember and recognize mistakes I have made and what I learned and how I have changed.

I re-read and I can see God moving in those strange moments. God was offering me opportunities for growth and adventure. I can recognize the miracles taking place. I need to remember that so I record, so I write and I date these entries. I get to see what a difference a day makes.

 

Happy Easter

Sunday was glorious! We had music. We had lilies. We had an Easter Egg hunt. We had 85 people at church! Wow!

Everyone looked so beautiful in their Easter best. People took pictures. The children  (and the rector) ate their candy. One by one, people made their goodbyes and headed off to lunch or home or somewhere else.

My daughter and I jumped in puddles, ate some steak, and lazed about the rest of the day. My heart felt full of joy watching her enjoy her Easter basket. Later that evening I stretched out on my couch and reflected on the day.

Of course, Easter is not just a day. In the Episcopal Church calendar we are in the season of Easter. We are in the Great 50 Days! Each week, that wax Paschal Candle should be melting down throughout the whole season. The altar has white hangings on it. We shout Alleluia all season long.

Easter is not just a season. Jesus lives and so should we. He has broken the bonds of death. Life triumphs. Love triumphs. Every day we get the opportunity to live into that love. Every day is Easter.

I need a title for my book

Friends, I need your help! I need to come up with a good title for my mystery. Would you help me? I will thank the winner in my dedication! Please comment with your title. Here is the synopsis:

“Denise Reed is unemployed and about to drive her mother crazy. Denise has been hiding out at her mother’s home in New Orleans pretending to job hunt while feeling sorry for herself. She accompanies her mother one Tuesday to Riverview, an exclusive independent living facility, to volunteer. While helping one of the residents, Louise Butler, retrieve her sweater, Denise learns about the mysterious death of an aide, Tina Moore, and a rash of small thefts.

 

Was it an accident? Or something more? Is someone really stealing at Riverview? Denise takes a position at Riverview and begins to investigate the thefts and Tina’s accident. Before she knows it, she is Tai Chi-ing her way out of her unemployment funk, crushing on a Jason Statham look-alike named Jason, and avoiding a pimple faced thug. Will she be able to sort out who she can trust? Or will she end up like Tina Moore?”

I will take titles until April 7, 2017! Start your thinking! Remember, write your title idea in the comments. Thanks!