Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Grief in the Seasons

As summer fades into the cool crispness of fall,
I am reminded that life has its seasons too.

Fall reminds me that dying is part of life.
Certain things need to die in order for others to thrive.

The waiting is difficult,
but I know spring and new life will come again.

And if I fixate too much on spring,
I will miss out on the things that winter needs to teach.

If I worry too much about the oncoming winter,
I will not enjoy the melancholy beauty that is fall.

There is a sad/beautiful ache to grief.
It wraps my heart and hangs there for a while,
as if testing the branches of the tree that is my soul.

Time passes.
The remnants of us slowly fade.

How many more articles of clothing and kitchen utensils will I find that is yours?
Less, as the time goes.

I see the pictures of you drop off of the page,
as each new one without you is added.

Part of me is glad to not have the memories at the forefront.
Part of me grieves the willful process of forgetting the past.

Yet, I decide to unplug.
I need to let some things go.
And be ok with whether or not they return.

Now it is winter, I thought I was doing so well.
The sudden cold makes me realize how alone I am I night.
Trying to keep myself warm under the covers.

And yet, I am not truly alone.
There are many wonderful souls who stand at my side.
They help me to grow and point me toward life.

I will try again, and I will try again.
In a new place where you are not.

But not now: Now I am to find out who I really am:
Who I am will be made clear through the dead of winter.

And more importantly, WHOSE I am.
Can I trust God when he says that I am Beloved?

The pain will lessen, and my heart will thaw,
as I begin to live into that identity.

Today, I grieve.
Today, I feel the darkness.
But even winter, is just the beginning of spring.

Friday, March 07, 2014

Throwing off every weight and hinderance

Usually at Lent I try to emphasize that I'd much rather add something good than take something away from my life. I've recently realized that this is a rather incomplete view of the church tradition, just as restricting one's self for the sake of restricting.

I recently read this in an Anglican Lenten devotional which references the familiar verse from Hebrews 12:
"At its heart, Lent is not about giving up some triviality for 40 days; it is about throwing off every weight and hindrance in order that we might run freely to obtain God's promises."

We are finite people with finite energy. If our focus is on one thing, that also means that our focus is NOT on another. We don't just find the extra time or extra ability to add time of devotion to our day, we half ass one thing to half ass another. We try to fit God into our lives after all the other things that take our attention and wonder why it doesn't fit.

I've come to realize also, that the things I'm holding onto are NOT healthy and do not fit into the picture of who I or my Heavenly Father wants me to be.  I'm busy stubbornly raking through muck and straw rather than striving for a crown (referencing Christina in Pilgrim's Progress witnessing the man with the muck rake).

"A man who could look no way but downward with the muck-rake in his hands;
who would neither look up nor regard the crown he was offered." - Pilgrim's Progress

This Lent, I'm giving up the temporary pleasure of games and extraneous internet use. This is really hard for me, because I'm surrounded by it every day at work. Instead, I hope to focus on the work at hand and to add more helpful and productive things like taking walks or talking to my coworkers when I need a break. I hope to read more in the evening and spend time being with housemates and friends. I hope to spent 20 minutes a day in quiet and remember that I am Beloved.

I'm giving up, so I'm free to run towards the things that give me LIFE. What will you give up for this season of Lent?