Suddenly I find myself surrounded by grief. I suppose it’s always been so. I do, after all, live in a world in which sickness, death, and violence exist. I cannot escape the realities. And yet, there are times in which the realities come ever closer.
On a recent morning, as I awoke, I contemplated two women who are dear to me. One grieves the recent loss of her beloved mother; the other the loss of her husband of forty-plus years. Just days ago their happily-ever after was cut short by the ravages of cancer.
I think of another friend, lost to us just a few months ago, suddenly, unexpectedly in the night. I think of a wonderful friend who recently had surgery for breast cancer and is now undergoing both traditional and experimental treatment. And I most especially think of my mother-in-law who is, once again, bracing for chemotherapy and the questions that wake her in the night, walk with her in the day.
Grief and fear walk hand in hand. They invade our lives with ferocity. They are most emboldened beasties, sneaking into our rooms at night, following us to work, to market, to play, and even into our houses of worship. They grasp us with their relentless tendrils, wrapping around us, sometimes tearing into us, and inflicting their wounds ever more deeply.
Enough, we must say.
Of course, we must grieve. We must allow the tears to fall. We welcome the healing they bring. We must allow ourselves the time to experience the loss. To adjust to the changes that inevitably must come. We must acknowledge that nothing, nothing will ever be the same. We must acknowledge that tomorrow may bring more uncertainties, more fears.
But we must also embolden our hearts. We must find solace for our souls. And, suddenly, as I awakened that morning, it occurred to me that solace comes like the rings of Saturn. Solace comes, mysterious, ethereal, spiritual, beautiful, surrounding us. Not like a hula hoop, slender, substantial, yet light weight and easily moved. No, solace is permanent, penetrating the grief and the fear. They may awaken, from time to time, but we have only to remember that solace is still there; embracing us, enabling us to find that much needed peace and courage, once again.
When we find ourselves surrounded by grief, may Spirit send the rings of solace to surround us. May we be tenderly, peacefully, lovingly, wrapped in the arms of comfort.
Forever seeking Spirit,