“We build on foundations we did not lay.
We warm ourselves at fires we did not light.
We sit in the shade of trees we did not plant.
We drink from wells we did not dig.
We profit from persons we did not know.
We are ever bound in community."

Rev. Peter Raible (paraphrased from Deuteronomy 6:10-12)

Monday, January 2, 2012

Day 2: Spiritual Practices and Reflections: Befriending Grief

This poem, by Denise Levertov, is one that I return to again and again:

Talking to Grief

Ah, Grief, I should not treat you  
like a homeless dog
who comes to the back door
for a crust, for a meatless bone.
I should trust you.

I should coax you
into the house and give you
your own corner,
a worn mat to lie on,
your own water dish.

You think I don't know you've been living
under my porch.
You long for your real place to be readied
before winter comes. You need
your name,
your collar and tag. You need
the right to warn off intruders,
to consider
my house your own
and me your person
and yourself 
my own dog.

So often, in my own life, behind my anger or anxiety, there is simply grief that has not been expressed, that I have not befriended, that I have not fully welcomed into my life. 

As a culture we seem to fear tears (especially from men) and the sense of vulnerability that grief can bring.  

But our grief is not a homeless dog. It is real. It is about loss, both small and large, dreams that have died, and much more. Grief is not something to be ashamed of or embarrassed about. We should trust our grief, name it, and befriend it, as best we can. 

In this New Year, how are you befriending your grief?

1 comment:

Anna C Shade Jewelry & Metalwork said...

Opening the heart is one way to befriend grief. It gives loss the spaciousness it needs to heal. In this New Year, I will keep opening my heart.