Everyday Spirituality

Posts tagged ‘grief’

~Swallowed in Quicksand~

When I was in high school you would often see scenes in movies depicting someone being swallowed up by quicksand. It was a frightening thought to be trapped in such a seemingly helpless situation. No one could come near enough to help the person or they too would be drowning in the quicksand.

I was thinking about how grief acts much the same way…swallowing you up into itself. You feel frightened, trapped, and even helpless at times.

 Others may not want to get too close; they too may get swallowed up by this quicksand called grief.

Mostly people do not know what to say, however they mean well.

Quicksand presses in on all sides of your body

making you feel as if you will suffocate.

When you are trapped in quicksand the most important thing on your mind is surviving long enough to work your way back to stable ground. If you struggle you will plunge deeper into the mucky mud. Struggling to distance yourself from grief will only cause it to linger around longer, perhaps for the rest of your life.

Did you know the way to escape quicksand is to wiggle your legs?

The odd thing about quicksand is that it appears to be solid ground.

It looks normal. It is only when you step into it do you realize it will not support your weight.

I do not pretend to understand everything about grief. I remember when I was a still young my grandmother died. I was not ready to lose her; we had so much fun together. I can remember out of the blue after she died being overcome with grief while driving or grocery shopping. The tears would burst forth without warning. They seemed to be an essential part of the healing process.

“The waters swirled about me, threatening my life; the abyss enveloped me.” Jonah 2:6

I surrender to this grief pressing against my whole being. It is futile to resist as it envelopes one’s entire being. I lie motionless waiting to float to the surface. The Lord’s own invisible hand sustains my soul. No one else would dare come that close.

The one thing you should not do if caught in quicksand, is fight with the sand. It will only make it that much more difficult to free yourself.

The human body will actually float in quicksand. You will not drown.

 In the quicksand of grief…

I give myself permission to allow the tears to drench the surface.

Fighting back with anger and denial will not bring peace to my soul; instead it will feed the grief like sour milk.

What do you think about tears? Some people do not like to cry. Some even think crying is a sign of weakness. We hear parents admonishing children ‘don’t be a cry baby’. As a society we have not learned to grieve well. We tend to put on our ‘happy face’ no matter what.

The ability to free yourself completely from quicksand takes a considerable amount of energy. I won’t bore you here with the scientific details, but to remove one foot from quicksand requires the same amount of force as lifting a mid-sized car. Wow!

“The Lord, your God, who is in your midst, is a great and awesome God.” Dt. 7:21

Release from this grief may take years, and maybe that is how it should be. When the emotional state of grief diminishes you will once again breathe in fresh air.

The memories of your loved one live on in you and through you. I am reminded of the final words of each Eucharistic Prayer of the Mass when the priest says, ‘Through him, with him, in him, in the unity of the Holy Spirit…’

Everyone who loved Jesus also experienced the quicksand of grief.

How would they continue without his earthly presence? Who would be there to guide them? To encourage them? To teach them?

Who would be there to inspire them to be better than they were?

Those who loved Jesus were no different than us. They had all the same emotions, hopes, and fears. The Emmaus journey encapsulates all that it means to be human in a few well written verses.

“I, the Lord, am with you always, until the end of the world.” Mt. 28: 20

Without Grief would we ever be able to recognize much less appreciate Joy?

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~ The Numbness of Grief ~

Sometimes I just want to go to the top of a mountain and scream at the top of my lungs. There seems to be no release. Days go by and the heaviness of grief is numbing. I can understand why people get caught up in drugs and even those who cut themselves…sometimes you just want to feel something intense. Day after day you guard your emotions.

If I could dance I would be putting my feelings into some wildly expressive dance where everything could pour forth in silence. Reaching out far, stretching up high. The emotions could explode from the very core of my soul. Would dance soothe this deep inner pain? I can only perform this dance in the recesses of my mind while listening to music repeatedly.

 

The numbness of grief has a pain unique to itself unlike any other. It is a pain that sears your from the inside out. A pain you cannot hide from…a pain you cannot run away from.

If I was an accomplished pianist I would sit at the piano and play with such passion anyone listening would experience the intensity of the magnitude of my pain. Composer/Pianist, Michael Allen Harrison in his composition Fly Away best captures this state of grief for me. It is a heaviness played in the low bass clef and yet there is a light melody creating a delicate balance and then the oboe comes in with tears of lament. The tempo is like a solid drone. Life continues, the sun rises and the sun sets, but it will never be quite the same. The drum beat keeps everything moving forward with heavy footsteps.

 

Grief makes you want to turn yourself inside out, exposing who you truly are inside. I am at the foot of the cross with the Blessed Mother weeping and holding on to what I was taught and have believed since childhood. I am not alone, but I my tears are held close to my heart.

Do others have the right to enter into your personal space of grief?

 

Sometimes I think about taking a feather pillow and ripping it open; throwing all of the feathers into the air. Watching the soft white feathers slowly, quietly drifting one by one back to the ground, I find a comforting thought.

 

Tenderness is how I treasure the many memories…the times that can no longer be shared.

I have been reading Job and the Mystery of Suffering by Richard Rohr today and listening to music. Throughout the book of Job it is easy to identify with how abandoned he feels by God while at the same time being convicted of God’s love for him.

“If we take happiness from God’s hand,

must we not take sorrow, too?” Job 2:10

 

I had no plan to write these words today; they just flooded into my heart. I really cannot comprehend what my life would be like without music. Music is a spiritual experience for me almost mystical. Music is a retreat in the space of a few precious minutes. Heaven surely has ‘The’ most beautiful music. All of the different instruments harmonizing together remind me of the Body of Christ, the angels and saints worshiping and praising God together in harmony.

I sit with grief as my daily companion, both day and night. Grief is in my dreams. Grief walks beside me like the grim reaper.

I choose life.

I choose to walk in the light.

I choose to embrace all that is part of my journey here on this earth.

 

Below is a link for Fly Away by Michael Allen Harrison

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Just a Little More Time…

Our Father who art in heaven…Thy will be done…

Serenity Prayer…God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.

These next few blog posts may not have beautiful pictures or sweet music from you tube for you to enjoy. Instead there will only be words from my grief stricken heart.

There have been a few times in my life when I may have wanted to “play God”…when our first born son was dying of malnutrition and needed intestinal surgery to save his life…when my beloved grandmother was dying of lung cancer and would not get to know and love my children…when my daddy, only sixty-four, needed a heart transplant but could not last long enough…when my mother in law died from breast cancer only having a few short years with her grandsons.

Today I find myself once again in a place where if I could for a moment “play God” I would heal my dear friend from her cancer and restore her body to its healthy state. But I know …  “…Thy will be done…” I know this in my head and I can say the prayers, but in my heart I do so want things to be different I do so want her to be healed. I know I am not in a unique situation, but right now today what matters is getting through to tomorrow.

Sometimes I feel like I am in a tug of war. My head is pulling in one direction and my heart is pulling just as hard in the opposite direction. I know in my head what my faith has taught me about going to a better place when you die, but my heart does not want to let go. I want to hold her close to me ever so gently; and then I can so vividly picture Jesus also wanting to hold her close to himself.

“Just a little more time, Dear Jesus, just a little more time.”  I pray.

Last night my husband and I were watching this darling 10 year old singing In the Arms of an Angel.Her voice was as beautiful as an angel itself. I began to think about heaven. If we can make such beautiful music here on earth how much more beautiful must heavenly music be. There must be music in heaven; how could there not be?

“Just a little more time, Dear Jesus, just a little more time.”  I plead.

“Just a little more time”…….

to be continued…