Everyday Spirituality

Posts tagged ‘writing’

Leaving the Dark Forest

Just on the Edge

~~~ Part 3 ~~~

One day as you are walking you notice something is different. You are no longer fighting with the dark forest. Either you get to the other side of the forest or the forest itself lifts from around you. You gradually begin to see brightness. The heavy forest foliage is thinning…tiny beams of light are making their way to you.

Not sure if it will last you search for the source of the light. Sometimes the light and the darkness dance with each other. Sometimes they play tug-a-war with each other.

It is clear that the light is becoming stronger. The light wants to lead you to a place of even greater light. Part of you finds comfort in the dark forest. Part of you detests the dark forest. Part of you wants to hold on to the somber feelings of the forest. Part of you wants to run joyfully through the field of flowers singing at the top of your lungs.

You eventually come to that moment when you realize that the person you miss and love wants you to experience joy. They want you run through the fields of flowers. They want you to hear the birds singing again. They want you experience the joy of a butterfly in flight.

I want to leave this dark forest behind. It has been exactly one year…365 days since we lost a special person. She is beckoning me to come be with her. She is not in the dark forest. She is part of the light. She is the child running through the wild flowers with total abandonment and joy. She is in the melody line of the bird’s song. She rides on the wings of the soaring butterfly.

If I close my eyes

I can almost feel her beside me.

To leave the dark forest is honoring a loved one’s memory much more than staying there.

You cannot really live in the dark forest. That is why it is so dark; life in there barely exists.

You cannot grow amidst decaying debris.

Emerging from the forest initially feels odd. This forest of grief has become a way of existence…notice I did not say living…just existence. When you come out and begin living again…living in the light…living in the joy you feel clumsy.

But when it happens and you leave the dark forest you keep walking deeper into the light where the flowers are blowing in the breeze. I know this is where I should be…this feels right…I can feel the sun smiling and warming me heart. I can hear the bees buzzing from flower to flower. I can enjoy the freedom of the butterflies.

I can appreciate the beauty surrounding us. I can hold her with me every day. She is a part of my heart and not even the dark forest can take that away.

As St. Paul wrote so well…Love endures all things, believes all things….Love never fails. Recently while sitting quietly in church I experienced a rush of deep peace and joy entering into my body. It was so strong that it almost had a tangible effect on my body. For a moment time was suspended. I wanted to hold on to the feeling but it was gone almost as quickly as it had appeared.

I firmly believe it was my friend letting me know it was time…

If you are grieving over the loss of a loved one I urge you to trust deep in your soul. Trust that you loved one does not want you to be sad. Believe your loved one wants you out in the sunshine. The dark forest is no place to build a permanent dwelling.

I look forward to the days ahead as the dark forest gets farther and farther back in the distance. This journey has changed me forever. If nothing else I now have a much better understanding of the whole process.

We all experience deaths in our lives all the time.

Sometimes these deaths are not even people we love. You can experience death in a relationship, even a broken promise. Writing about this process carried me to the edge of the forest. Writing kept me grounded while enduring the dark forest. Writing encouraged me to keep moving on.

In Memory of my dear friend.

I will always love you.

May you dance among the angels forever!

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Pen and Ink: Love Letters

Love can be expressed in so many different ways, but the most timeless and most treasured will always remain the classic “love letter”. I am sure Hallmark would not even object to a hand written love letter because you can always tuck it neatly inside of a pretty card. The art of the handwritten letter has so often today been replaced with a type written email or text. Snail mail seems to take forever…we are instant, got to have it now, people.

I am going to hand write a love letter to my husband this Valentine’s Day. I invite you to join me; hand write a letter to a loved one…spouse…child…parent…friend…grandchild…sister…brother…

Think back for a moment to the time when setting before you was a pen and its accompanying bottle of ink…now to me that is so romantic. I love gazing at old pen and ink writings. I love how the ink is wispy and delicate on the paper…just the thought of dipping the tip of the pen in the ink and carefully stroking the paper with expressive words to your loved one. This is so heart warming and tender to me. If you still have one of those old ink pens from years ago I invite you to take it out and write something anything even just your name. Let the ink flow onto the paper.

When my husband was in basic training I would write him a letter every day…no internet or Skype back then…I think he still has those letters carefully packed away in a box. One day, perhaps after we are both gone, our sons will find those letters and get an idea of just how much we were in love with one another.

I have a kept a letter written to me by my father when I was in my 20’s. It still brings a smile to my face since he is no longer living. There is something special knowing that he touched the paper…a part of him has been absorbed into the paper. Cherish that thought for a moment with me.

Of course as long as I am writing about love letters I am reminded of the wonderful movie “Message in a Bottle”. What a beautiful creative novel written by Nicholas Sparks.

If you would like to give a personal gift of love from your heart; try writing a poem. There is no right or wrong way to write a poem just express your feelings for the other person.

Give it a try…here are a few guidelines to help you get started…reasons why you love the person…specific qualities you love about the person like their blue eyes…what and or how they have provided for or supported you…special names you have for each other…the ultimate message you are trying to convey with your poem, for example ‘you are the one who always believes in me’…decide the tone of your poem either humorous or sentimental.

Remember this poem is a personal gift from your heart!

This month I invite you to write the ultimate love letter or poem…to Jesus. Valentine’s is a wonderful time to stop and actually write to Jesus and tell him how much you love him…what you love about him…what he means to you…how he has supported you in all ways throughout your life. Seal it, bring it with you to Mass or adoration…hold it in your hands and read/pray it to Jesus with a loving heart. Tell Jesus how much you love him…using visual imagery reach out your arms allowing Jesus to embrace you within his loving arms…pressing you tenderly to his own heart…pierced through with love for you. There is no greater love…How truly blessed we are to be loved by Jesus. His love… given to us so that we may have love in our hearts to give to others.

May you continue to write letters…