May we create a world where people are seen,
where each person's truth is held and considered in love.
May we create a world where compassion and grace center how we treat one another.
May we create a world where people are valued more than priorities,
where hope grows until it fills the spaces between us.
Each day, I wake up and make these three commitments to myself and to the world around me. Over the past few weeks, I have had to make some hard choices - you know the kind. Choices that are not a good or bad option, but the best of two bad possibilities. In the end, my choice came after realizing that if I did not value myself, no one would value me.
Hard choices lead to hard grief. Loss can be overwhelming when you make the choice to build healthy boundaries and to maintain them. Author Shannon Alder, in her work on narcissistic abuse within institutions, writes; "If you spend your time hoping someone will suffer the consequences for what they did to your heart, then you're allowing them to hurt you a second time in your mind." When you make the hard choices, it is often harder to walk away with joy.
Sometimes we are hurt by unwinnable situations.
Sometimes we are hurt without intention, where every person felt they were doing their best but the outcome was still trauma and loss for some or for all.
Sometimes, even when we wish with all our heart for a different outcome, we end up walking away feeling bereft and unresolved, but knowing it was the only path open.
Grief suspends us in a space where it can take every ounce of courage and determination to come through, pick up the pieces, and move on to the next stage. When a family member or friend dies, most people recognize the stages of grief and provide support to those moving through them as much space and time as they need to weather the transition. But what about other losses? Things like a job loss or infertility struggles can trigger grief equal to death. Too often, the response is to urge a person to move on. Grief makes people uncomfortable, especially when it is not related to death.
Proverbs 14:10 shares the wisdom that "each heart knows its own bitterness, and no else can share its joy." Grief will end. Suffering will be replaced by joy. Bitterness will give way to hope. Peace and hope will be restored.
In the meantime,
Let us see one another, holding each other's truth and greeting them in love.
Let us treat each person's grief journey with compassion.
Let us reassure each person of their value and worth.
Let us love one another, even when it hurts.