Our Collective Grief Is Holy Ground
“When you’re weary. Feeling small. When tears are in your eyes, I will dry them all. I’m on your side.” — Simon & Garfunkel, “Bridge Over Troubled Water” song lyrics
“Giving thanks while breaking bread, and for kind words that are said. Spirit move me through my deeds, cradling me with all my needs.” — Deborah Dougherty, “Cradle Me” song lyrics
While attending a workshop many years ago, on the topic of theology and social action, a minister told us, “There are things in the world to cry about.” I remember feeling like I had finally been given permission to feel sad: not only my own sadness for the loss of a family member, but also sadness for the sorrows of the world.
More recently, I was walking on a treadmill at the gym, and I suddenly felt like crying. In the middle of my ordinary, mundane routine, a space in my heart opened up, revealing a heavy grief carried in the depths of my interior world.
Isn’t that how it is sometimes? When we least expect it, we are broken open.
Of course, we can keep pushing away unpleasant feelings by finding unhealthy ways to avoid them. But likely, our life catches up with us at some point, and we have to face the tender places inside that call out for tears to help cleanse our soul.
If we aren’t attending to our wounds, our generational traumas, and our destructive habits, it makes it harder to connect with others who also carry wounds and traumas. Compassion and self-empathy begin within. As we heal and extend love to our own suffering, we develop a greater capacity — the additional mental and emotional bandwidth we need — to send our healing and love to other beings as well as to the Earth herself.
All of this internal and collective healing is sacred work on the planet right now.
We desperately need people who are learning how to see the connections between our personal suffering and the suffering of living beings with whom we share this planet. We can then likewise see more clearly the connections between the happiness and joy of others and our own wellbeing.
All connected. All holy.
In peace & love,
P.S. Please join us in community, Wednesday, Nov. 9, 6:30 PM, for the Spirit & Place Festival program, “Navigating a New Identity After the Loss of a Loved One” at the Indiana Interchurch Center. Event Details