November has always had a special significance as the start of the winter season. We remember those we once knew but are now dead, and we ask God to show mercy to them. We also pray to them to help us to live out our lives as lovingly as some of them did. These faithful departed handed on to us many of the things that make life worthwhile—insights, beliefs, traditions and values. They handed on to us whatever goodness and truth they had discovered in their life. We remember them with gratitude at this time.
I am convinced that grief and loss affect everyone. None of us knows how to truly process those emotions. At times we really don’t know how to grieve. We expect there to be a standard timetable for it. We don’t make space for it. We don’t feel safe talking about it. We want it to follow predictable steps to get back to normal. The result is that we try to bury our grief, hide away our pain, and act as if it’s not there. And yet it comes up in all kinds of ways and in places we least expect. If you are truly aware in your own life, you are in touch with the loss you have experienced. And it’s no doubt painful. The best way to cope with it is to deal with it kindly, gently, lovingly and with the support of family, friends and the communities we live in. We should try to keep in our minds and in our hearts the knowledge that everyone deals with these feelings on a daily basis. If we truly remembered that, we would be kind to everyone. We would be gentler with our fellow human beings and with ourselves. We live in a fast-paced, tough and often cold world. We don’t need to. By being more aware and awake, we can make a choice to be conscious, caring and compassionate to ourselves and others every day of the year. Now there’s a thought worth remembering.
Strength from adversity
A man found a cocoon of a butterfly. One day, a small opening appeared and the man sat and watched the butterfly for several hours as it struggled to force its body through that little hole. Then it seemed to stop making any progress. It appeared as it if had gotten as far as it could and it could go no further.
Then the man decided to help the butterfly, so he took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of the cocoon. The butterfly emerged easily. But it had a swollen body and small, shrivelled wings.
The man continued to watch the butterfly because he expected that, at any moment, the wings would enlarge and expand to be able to support the body, which would contract in time. Neither happened! In fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shrivelled wings. It was never able to fly.
What the man in his kindness and haste did not understand was that the restricting cocoon and the struggle required for the butterfly to get through the tiny opening were God’s way of forcing fluid from the body of the butterfly into its wings so that it would be ready for flight once it achieved its freedom from the cocoon.
Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our life. If God allowed us to go through our life without any obstacles, it would cripple us. We would not be as strong as what we could have been. And we could never fly.
Thought for the week
As your thought for the the week, treat everyone around you in a gentler way as much as you can and be thankful for loved ones that are no longer with us, especially during this month of remembering.