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Good Grief

May 25, 2012

Watercolor by Tim Timmerman

Grief is the flip-side of love. It is a voice saying, “Love is buried here.” It is the feeling we have when something in our past visits our present. Grief is a patient teacher that waits in silence until we are ready to listen. Grief is not pushy. It does not force itself upon us.

But if we ignore it for too long, suppress it, or try in vain to flee from it… it will hunt us down. It is sneaky. It will jump out from a photo or ride the voice of a stranger to splash our eyes with tears. It will follow us silently for decades until we are ready to turn, face it, and listen to what it has to say.

That’s my story at least. For most of my life I have fled from feeling. The sadness of my childhood was so deep that I spent the first ten years after I left home running from it. I tried never to look back. I believe I’m like most people. I use busy-ness to keep myself distracted from feelings and truths I would rather not ponder. I’ve avoided my own sadness for too long.

So today, as my children finish another school year and grief puts a heavy arm across my shoulders, I choose to listen to what it has to teach me.  Today’s sadness is about my lost childhood and the pain I ran from when I graduated High School. But I no longer run. I sit with my grief and see that it is really love for my family who I have lost and for my children who are growing into young adults themselves.

I don’t have to fix my sadness. I needn’t use “the power of positive thinking” to overcome it. I choose to welcome it and let it embrace me like a lover in the night. As it takes me, it kisses my broken heart and whispers into my soul, “Let go. Feel. You are love.”

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